Philippine President Duterte to name officials allegedly involved in drug trade

Philippine President Rodrigo "The Punisher" Duterte is set to name up to 50 officials allegedly involved in drugs as state-sanctioned street executions of civilians soar to 600.

Mr Duterte's lawyer Salvador Panelo said that 27 local executives identified in intelligence reports would be unmasked this week that figure had almost doubled.

"My God, you will be shocked," Mr Panelo said last night, according to the Philippine Inquirer.

He declined a request to give examples, citing operational reasons, but revealed many on the list were from prominent families and included provincial mayors and police generals and military figures.

The extraordinary development comes a day after Mr Duterte issued a "shoot on sight" order for Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera and his son Rolando "Kerwin" Espinosa after three mayoral staffers were caught with ice, known as shabu in the Philippines.

The Radyo Inquirer said that the mayor surrendered on Tuesday after police shot dead six bodyguards during an early morning raid at the heavily fortified family compound.

Authorities have vowed to hunt down and kill his son, who vanished weeks ago after learning Duterte was coming after him.

Rolando 'Kerwin' Espinosa - the fugitive son of a provincial mayor, has been told to 'surrender or die'. Source / Supplied
Rolando 'Kerwin' Espinosa - the fugitive son of a provincial mayor, has been told to 'surrender or die'. Source / Supplied

Kerwin is said to have undergone plastic surgery while on the run in a desperate bid to elude capture.

Father and son are being investigated for allegedly protecting drug traffickers. Espinosa is the first local executive linked to the narcotics trade under the Duterte administration, according to The Philippine Star.

The officials about to be unmasked in the "executive kill list" can consider themselves dead men walking unless they turn themselves in and confess.


Espinosa, who was not present at the raid on his home, surrendered to authorities on Tuesday before the expiration of a 24-hour ultimatum given by Mr Duterte.

He reportedly met with the president at Malacañang Palace before presenting himself to Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa.

Chief Dela Rosa paraded Espinosa at a press conference last night, telling reporters the order to shoot on sight was still active for his son, who is the subject of a massive manhunt.

"Kerwin, you better surrender or die," he said in a message to the younger Espinosa.

Chief Dela Rosa said Espinosa had admitted to him that Kerwin was involved in drug dealing and was in business with convicted drug trafficker Peter Co - an inmate at the maximum security New Bilibid Prison.

The top cop told reporters that he had twice asked Espinosa "if it would be okay if police killed Kerwin if he tried to resist arresting officers".

"Okay," Espinosa replied, GMA Network reported.


More than 120,000 drug addicts - most of them shabu (ice) dependent - have been forced to "surrender" to police since Duterte took office in May.

Users are required to attend mass ceremonies where they register as drug criminals and pledge to never take drugs again.

Those who don't register, or break their contract, do so at the risk of being hunted down and killed, either by police or at the hands of vigilantes.

Mr Duterte, whose "death squads" were linked to dozens of unexplained murders during his 20 year reign as mayor of Davao, has given police and civilians the power to kill users and pushers on sight.

Residents take their oaths to reform after heeding a call from Tanauan city government to undergo processing allegedly for being drug-users. Photo / AP
Residents take their oaths to reform after heeding a call from Tanauan city government to undergo processing allegedly for being drug-users. Photo / AP

"Rehab is no longer an option," Mr Duterte told a cheering audience in Davao City.

"So those of you in your neighbourhood, feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have a gun. You have my support."

In another well-received speech, he told the crowd: "In an arrest, you must overcome the resistance of the criminal. You must really overcome it. And if he fights, and he fights to death, you can kill him.

"Then I'll give you a medal."

Activist group Human Rights Watch says 600 suspected drug dealers and users have been killed in street executions since May 10.

The murders have occurred in several parts of the country including Manila, Bulacan, Cebu, Rizal, Abra, Bataan, Pangasinan and Cavite.

A series of photographs of the victims made world headlines and generated widespread condemnation of Mr Duterte's murderous crackdown on drugs.

Duterte has dismissed the images as "melodramatic".

"International drug control agencies need to make clear to President Roderigo Duterte that the surge in killings of suspected drug dealers and users is not acceptable 'crime control,' but instead a government failure to protect people's most fundamental human rights," Human Rights Watch Deputy Asia Director Phelim Kine said a statement yesterday.


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