MANILA – (UPDATE) President Rodrigo Duterte, who is leading a relentless campaign against illegal drugs, bared on Sunday a long list of politicians and judges whom he accused of involvement in the narcotics trade.
Duterte’s list straddled the entire country. He read the names one by one in a nationally-televised speech after midnight. He said the names were validated by the police and the military.
"I ordered the validation. I am the one reading it and I am the sole person responsible for this one," he said.
The President stripped the government officials of their police escorts. The policemen on the list, on the on the other hand, were immediately relieved from their posts.
They will also be investigated for criminal and administrative charges, he said.
Since assuming power on June 30, Duterte has rallied security forces in an unprecedented crackdown on drug suspects. He also earlier named five police generals and several other local executives as alleged protectors of drug rings.
The ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group counted 852 drug-related deaths from May 10, when Duterte's election win became clear, to 3 p.m. of August 5.
Sixty-two percent were killed in police operations, 29 percent were killed by unidentified assailants while nine percent were dead bodies found away from the crime scene.