Duterte accuses judges of drug links

Rodrigo Duterte addresses the nation about his war on drugs. Source: YouTube

The Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, has accused numerous politicians, civil servants and judges of links with the drugs trade, telling them to surrender to be investigation.

Duterte named those he was accusing and ordered their security to be withdrawn during a televised address.

“If you show the slightest violence in the resistance, I will tell the police, ‘Shoot them’,” he said.

Duterte’s campaign against drugs has left hundreds of suspected dealers dead and more than 4,400 arrested in a month since he took office. An estimated 600,000 people have surrendered to the police to avoid being killed.

Reports say some of those named have been incorrectly identified.

The Inquirer newspaper said one judge labelled an alleged protector of drugs bosses had been dead for eight years.

It said some names on the list no longer or had never held power and others were identified with the wrong municipal region.

The full list included seven judges, as well as current or former mayors and congressmen and large numbers of serving or retired police officers.

Duterte said: “I am removing [the judges named] operational authority over them [police]. Twenty-four hours, everybody, military police, attached to them, report to your mother unit. I give you 24 hours or I will whack you and dismiss you from the service.”

Duterte announced that he would be responsible for anyone who was found to be innocent.

Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos were addicted to drugs, he said.

Human Rights Watch, Stop Aids and the International HIV/Aids Alliance are among more than 300 organisations that have signed a joint letter to the International Narcotics Control Board and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, asking them to break their silence over the killings.

“We are calling on the UN drug control bodies to publicly condemn these atrocities in the Philippines. This senseless killing cannot be justified as a drug control measure,” said Ann Fordham of the International Drug Policy Consortium, which drafted the letter.

The diplomatic Duterte is probably unconcerned about UN pressure.

“F*ck you UN, you can’t even solve the Middle East carnage … couldn’t even lift a finger in Africa [after the] butchering [of] the black people. Shut up all of you,” he said after winning the election.

“Their silence is unacceptable, while people are being killed on the streets day after day.”

While campaigning for the presidency, Duterte said 100,000 people would die in his anti-drugs campaign, with so many bodies floating in Manila Bay that the fish would grow fat.