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46 officials in Philippines under drug probe

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday publicly named 46 government officials, including three congressmen, he said are involved in illegal drugs, and added that criminal investigations against them are underway.

Although critics have warned him against making such public announcements without solid evidence, Duterte said in a peace and order meeting shown on nationwide TV that he trusted the government agencies that provided the information. “My decision to unmask these drug personalities was anchored on my trust in the government agencies who had vetted and validated the narco list,” Duterte said. He said the Department of Interior and Local Government has filed administrative complaints against the politicians.

The government’s Anti-Money Laundering Council and a presidential anti-corruption commission are both investigating the officials to build criminal cases against them, Duterte said. Many of the officials, including 33 mayors, eight vicemayors and three members of the House of Representatives, are running in midterm elections in May. Duterte said he did not aim to undermine the politicians ahead of the May 13 elections but decided to identify them after their involvement in the drug trade was validated by authorities. (AP)

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