Dozens of govt officials surrender
Dozens of Philippine government and police officials turned themselves in yesterday, a day after President Rodrigo Duterte linked them to the drugs trade, stepping up a war on narcotics that has killed hundreds since he took office in June.
More than 400 suspected drug dealers have been killed by police across the Philippines since Duterte took over, officials say. Broadcaster ABS-CNN put the number at over 800, though this includes executions by anonymous vigilantes.
Yesterday, 27 mayors and 31 police officers, including a colonel, went to the national police office in the capital, Manila, to clear their names, fearing the president's order to hunt them down if they failed to surrender within 24 hours.
Several local officials reported to regional police offices to beat the deadline set by Duterte, who won the elections in May on a single platform of fighting crime and drugs.
On Sunday, he identified about 160 officials in a name-and-shame campaign.
"I want to change," a Cebu-based businessman tagged as a top-level drug trafficker told reporters after he met national police chief Ronald dela Rosa.
Nicknamed "the punisher" and "Duterte Harry" for his brutal fight on crime, Duterte has hit back at activists incensed by the surge in the killings of suspected drug traffickers.
Alarmed human rights groups have urged the United Nations to condemn the rise in extrajudicial killings. The Philippine Senate is to hold a legislative inquiry.