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Duterte: So many to kill, so little time

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Unfazed by criticisms against his bloody anti-drug campaign, President Duterte admitted yesterday that he was thinking of killing all of the drug personalities, including their protectors in the authorities’ narco list.

Duterte, in a press conference in Davao City upon his arrival from a visit in Malaysia, said there was no need to prepare for war against other nations but against the serious problems of illegal drugs and terrorism in the country.

“The most serious is… terrorism. But what is bugging us now is really drugs,” Duterte said.

“And I cannot tell you my next move, but I will try to invite and ask everybody to participate. What I showed you was that thick, I could not deal with that (alone),” the President said, referring to his drug list.

Duterte said he would have a hard time neutralizing over 3,000 local and police officials as well as judges allegedly involved in drugs due to the alarm bells that might be raised by human rights groups.

“I mean, if I use the contemporary rules, Constitution, I really can’t do it. Because you want to kill them all (but) you will not have enough time,” Duterte said.

“And, you know, if you do that, whether it is justified or not, the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations will always be there,” the President said.

Duterte noted many of those involved were barangay captains benefiting from drugs.

While the Palace has denied that the incidents of extrajudicial killings were sanctioned by the state, Duterte has been portrayed as having encouraged these arbitrary and summary executions through his pronouncements, which have been assailed by local and international groups.


As this developed, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary and Task Force Agila chairman John Castriciones said 24 out of 52 local officials previously tagged by the President as supposedly having ties to illegal drugs have not shown any form of cooperation on the probe they were conducting.

The task force was created to look into the narco list.

“We cannot force them. Our procedures are voluntary in nature,” he said. “We have to ask them to execute a deed of waiver to signify their willingness to open themselves up to our scrutiny and investigation.”

The waiver will enable the task force to look into the transactions of the officials, who were identified by the DILG as “persons of interest” following the announcement made by Duterte.

The DILG did not release the names of the local officials who were supposedly not cooperating with their probe.

The list included Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa and Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom, who were both killed following alleged firefights with the police.

Both mayors met with officials of the Philippine National Police prior to their death.

The task force was created by the DILG in August to take charge of the gathering of evidence, documentation, strategy, case determination and case development against the local officials.

“We are 101 percent behind the President in his campaign against criminality and illegal drugs. This is why we created Task Force Agila to ensure a thorough probe against the so-called narco execs,” Interior Secretary Ismael Sueno said.

He authorized the task force to demand and receive data about persons of interest, coordinate with other government departments, bureaus, agencies and other offices.

The investigation of the 52 local officials identified in the list is being handled by four teams, each headed by a DILG undersecretary. The teams are organized by island cluster, one each for Luzon and the Visayas, and two for Mindanao.

DILG Undersecretary Jesus Hinlo Jr., who serves as task force vice chairman, said the government would listen to the side of the local officials and would extend support, such as letting them enter the Witness Protection Program, if all the requisites required by law were fully satisfied.

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