MANILA, Philippines – President Duterte may no longer reveal the names of officials in his new narcotics list, saying it can prod drug groups to purge their ranks.
“If I read it, they will kill each other. If I read all the names, they would start to cleanse themselves to prevent, you know, being drawn into the vortex of shabu (methamphetamine),” Duterte said during the 115th anniversary of the Philippine Coast Guard yesterday in Manila.
“I am having second thoughts… whether to release it or not – or simply if you read it, you will be discouraged,” he added.
The President previously revealed that there were about 8,000 names of government officials on his third narco list, which he said included local executives, uniformed men and members of the judiciary and about 5,000 barangay captains.
“You will be downhearted because these guys are elected by the people in an election which is supposed to take place (this) month,” Duterte said, referring to the barangay election that he wanted postponed to prevent drug lords from influencing the process.
“Until now, I’m trying to validate, revalidate and validate and revalidate so that I’d be fair to everybody.”
Duterte has linked more than 160 officials to the narcotics trade, which he said has caused a problem of “epidemic proportions.”
Critics said the release of the names of drug suspects violated due process, but Duterte said he was just reporting the true state of the country.
The President reminded security forces to perform their duty and to address the drug menace in the event that the problem outlasts him.