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Philippines president names government officials connected to illegal drug trade

[JURIST] Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday identified approximately 150 serving and former state officials who are allegedly involved in the nation's illegal drug trade. Duterte stated [NYT report] that all named officials, which includes mayors, judges, legislators, policeman and military personnel, have been relieved of duty and have 24 hours to surrender to their respective authorities before being hunted down. While Duterte's recent war on drugs has drawn major criticism [Aljazeera report] from international human rights groups due to his extreme methods, Duterte claims that he must fulfill his duty to end the "pandemic" of drug abuse despite the risk of violating human rights. Furthermore, Duterte has dared opposing politicians to stop him and has promised to protect police officers who may be criticized for executing campaign. Since Duterte has taken office, about 400 suspected drug dealers have been killed and 600,000 have surrendered to the police.

The Filipino government has sought to curb the corruption that plagues the nation for years. Last month, the Supreme Court of the Philippines ordered the immediate release [JURIST report] of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who has been kept in hospital detention for nearly five years on charges of election fraud, plundering, and corruption. Arroyo was arrested after then-President Benigno Aquino signed an executive order [JURIST report] in July 2010 to set up a "truth commission" to investigate allegations that the outgoing administration engaged in corruption and rights violations. Duterte took the presidential office in May after promising [WSJ report] the Filipino population that he will restore their broken society, redistribute the wealth, and aggressively crackdown on corruption and crime. During his campaign, Duterte declared [Guardian report] that 100,000 people would die in his crackdown on crime. Duterte has further stated that he disregards [Aljazeera report] criticisms from the UN and human rights groups.

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