PHILIPPINE President Rodrigo Duterte publicly announced the names of more than 150 current and former officials, accusing them of having links to the drug trade in a nationally televised speech on Sunday.
Among them were judges, mayors, and members of Congress, as well as police and military officers.
Duterte also revoked their gun licenses and told them to turn themselves in for investigation.
Members of the military and police force who were named in the list were immediately fired, while government-assigned security personnel were to be withdrawn from politicians on the list.
Duterte declared that those he accused would have their day in court, but was quick to add: “My mouth has no due process”, reported Al Jazeera.
Duterte justified his public outing of the officials by saying that it was his duty to inform the public about the state of “narco-politics” in the country.
However, he added that he would take full responsibility if any of those he named turned out to be innocent.
This is Duterte’s latest move in his war against drugs, which has already left more than 400 suspected dealers and pushers dead and more than 4,400 arrested in a month since he took office. Nearly 600,000 people have surrendered to authorities.
Earlier this week, Duterte said he would not rescind the ‘shoot-to-kill’ order he had issued on drug offenders, despite knowledge of abuses by enforcers.
In response to public outcry questioning the ethics of his methods, according to official transcripts released by the presidential palace, he said: “I don’t care about human rights, believe me.”
In a statement posted online, Catholic leader Archbishop Socrates Villegas, who is also president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, condemned the latest killings, saying, “I am in utter disbelief. If this is just a nightmare, wake me up and assure me it is not true. This is too much to swallow.
“From a generation of drug addicts, shall we become a generation of street murderers?”
Additional reporting by Associated Press