MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday met with officials from local government units throughout Visayas and Mindanao to warn them not to be involved in the illegal drug trade.
Duterte said there will be harsh consequences for LGU officials who will be caught involved in the illegal drug trade.
“I’m here to remind you na kung pwede lang, huwag kasi magkaka-enkwentro talaga tayo,” Duterte said in his speech in front of the LGU officials at a hotel in Cebu City.
Duterte added he told Interior department officer-in-charge Eduarno Año to rid LGUs of officials involved in the drug trade.
“If I see a place and the governance is not working because it is overflowing with drugs, I told him to investigate and file charges,” Duterte said.
The President also asked the LGU officials to ensure that the police force in their respective jurisdictions do their jobs properly and are not into any illegal activity.
“Use your police. If I’ve not taken out that authority [from you], use them. Don’t allow them to be abusive or corrupt or into drugs. Kung may pulis ka na ganoon, patayin mo,” he said.
Duterte in January last year had met with mayors and governors in Malacañang, issuing the same warning.
The President is also in possession of an updated list of government officials and other personalities allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade. He, however, has not yet revealed the entire list.
Duterte’s vow to rid the country of illegal drugs and criminality resonated among a population frustrated by the deteriorating peace and order situation in the country.
Since coming into office, his government has seen several LGU officials and police officials allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade either killed, detained or fired. Nearly 4,000 drug suspects have also been killed in police operations, police data showed.
Human rights groups, however, said numerous cases of human rights violations were committed in the conduct of the war on drugs.
They also accuse the government of understating the real number drug killings, as this supposedly did not include those carried out by alleged state-sponsored “vigilantes.”
Duterte’s war on drugs has also caught the attention of the International Criminal Court, which has took an initial review of a communication filed by a Filipino lawyer in April last year.
The President was unfazed by the ICC’s move and said he would be willing to lawyer for himself and be executed if found guilty.