PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Friday issued a ‘shoot-to-kill’ order against 27 narco-politicians and police officers tagged as illegal drug protectors.
Two of the mayors and a former mayor in the group surrendered to Philippine National Police Chief Rolando dela Rosa, after the President threatened to shoot them if they resisted arrest.
In an interview at the wake of a slain police chief in Magsaysay, Davao del Sur, Duterte threatened to kill the narco-politicians for “what they’ve done to the Philippines.”
“My order is to shoot to kill [the 27 narco-politicians.] I don’t mind about human rights [groups]. Believe me. I don’t give a sh*t what they say. This war against drugs, we have a crises,” he added.
He said it didn’t matter if they were governors or mayors.
“I will not hesitate to kill you,” he said, addressing them directly.
Duterte had first issued a “shoot on sight” order against Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. of Albuera, Leyte, and his son Kerwin because of their alleged drug ties.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said Duterte’s statement on narco-politicians was in line with maintaining and protecting the peace.
“He has given due and ample notice that the clear and present danger of drugs engulfing the nation will be addressed and law enforcers will neutralize those who resist or endanger the lives of arresting officers,” he said.
In his speech at Camp Peralta in Jamindan, Capiz, Duterte reiterated the need to cut off the apparatuses that support big-time drug cartels, currently based in China and Mexico.
“There will be no letup in cutting off the apparatus that link these drug lords and their lieutenants,” Duterte said.
“I don’t mind these human rights, I have a problem to solve and that is the drug problem in our country,” he added.
On Friday, two mayors and one former mayor surrendered.
Maguing, Lanao del Sur Mayor Mamaulan Abinal Molok and former Marantao, Lanao del Sur Mayor Muhammad Ali Abo Abinal admitted to selling drugs and vowed to change their ways.
Ampatuan town Mayor Rasul Sangki also surrendered.
“They were really involved. That’s why they surrendered,” Dela Rosa said.
Dela Rosa presented Abinal Mulok and Muhammad Ali Abinal to the media while Sangki yielded at the office of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group.
“They surrendered to me after receiving information that they are on the watch list of the President and that they are included among 23 mayors linked to the illegal drug trade,” Dela Rosa said.
Dela Rosa said Abinal and Molok were involved in the distribution of illegal drugs in Quiapo, Cavite and Caloocan.
He said they surrendered because they feared for their lives.
“We came here to support the program of our beloved President Rodrigo Duterte and chief PNP General Bato, and to admit that in 2001 and 2002, we were involved in drugs,” Abinal said in Filipino.
Dela Rosa said both Molok and Abinal have already stopped trading in illegal drugs and vowed to support Duterte’s anti-drugs campaign.
Molok also said that he would convince his constituents involved in drugs to surrender.
Asked if they would be filing cases against them, Dela Rosa said the CIDG has yet to evaluate the gravity of their involvement in illegal drugs.
Dela Rosa said he expected more mayors to surrender as the PNP continued its campaign against illegal drugs.
Dela Rosa also issued an ultimatum to suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, son of Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera Leyte, saying his family would be kicked out of the official PNP chief’s residence if he did not surrender.
The mayor, his partner, and their daughter were asked to stay inside the PNP chief’s official residence for security reasons.
“I am giving him until tonight. If nothing happens then tomorrow morning I will tell them to vacate and ship themselves out,” Dela Rosa said, saying he was fed up with the smell of cigarettes inside the PNP “White House.”
“My son’s room is a mess. The father, his partner and their daughter are chainsmokers. The room has gotten smelly. When my son arrives from Davao, he will complain that his room has gotten that foul smell,” Dela Rosa said.
In an earlier interview, De la Rosa said he does not want to spend for the Espinosa family’s hotel accommodation while staying in Manila.
“I have to be human because his wife and daughter were there. I can’t keep him in jail because there’s no case against him,” he said.
On Thursday, Julito Prak, the alleged right hand man of the younger Espinosa was brought to a government hospital in Cebu City before he was declared dead on arrival by physicians after a buy-bust operation.
Agents said Prak was tasked to transport illegal drugs from Cebu to Leyte, the base of Kerwin Espinosa, dubbed as the biggest drug lord in Eastern Visayas.
In Leyte, two of Espinosa’s bodyguards linked the Abuera mayor to the illegal activities of his son Kerwin.
Jose Antepuesto and Marcelino Adorco, right hand men of the older Espinosa, admitted to the Leyte Police Provincial Office the mayor’s involvement in the drug trade, contrary to his statements to the PNP chief that he was not involved in the drug activities of his son.
Antepuesto said further that the Espinosas weren’t rich at the start and that they didn’t have any other businesses to explain their immense wealth.
Antepuesto and Adorco were among Espinosa’s men caught in the buy-bust operations in the province, where more than 1.9 million worth of shabu was seized on July 28.
Espinosa’s men who were caught during the operations were slapped with charges of illegal possession of firearms in the local prosecutor’s office after they were caught carrying high-powered arms.
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