As Elections Near, Duterte Adds Dozens Seeking Office to His Deadly Drug List

As Elections Near, Duterte Adds Dozens Seeking Office to His Deadly Drug List


Mr. Duterte insisted, however, that the new list had nothing to do with politics.

“I’m not really interested in releasing it before or after the elections,” Mr. Duterte said. “I don’t have the slightest intention of hurting anybody, or to cause a certain man who wants to serve the public not to be elected.”

Shortly after he took office, he released the first of his drug lists, accusing 150 judges, mayors, policemen and military officers of being involved in the drug trade.

He never explained how he came up with the list, and his aides said that the president had his own sources. Many of those in that original list have been killed — including about a dozen mayors and several vice mayors — usually gunned down either in police encounters or by pro-government vigilantes.

Among those slain was a mayor who had already surrendered, but was gunned down by police officers who raided his jail cell. In July last year, two mayors were gunned down a day apart. One of them, Antonio Halili, of Tanauan City, about 40 miles south of Manila, was killed by a sniper during a flag ceremony.

More than 5,000 people — and perhaps thousands more who have gone unreported — have been killed in Mr. Duterte’s drug war. Nearly all of them were killed in similar circumstances, with the police typically saying the person pulled a gun, prompting a fatal gun battle.

Vicente Veloso, a congressman in the central Philippines who was named by the president, said on Friday he would sue the government for including him on the list. He said that Mr. Duterte’s list was not thoroughly vetted, and said he welcomed an investigation.

“I will go straight to the point: This is politics,” Mr. Veloso, a former judge, said over local radio, but stressed he had no quarrel with Mr. Duterte.



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