Politicians with suspected narco links win in Philippine polls

20 May 2019 / 22:33 H.

MANILA: At least 27 politicians with alleged links to the illegal drugs trade in the Philippines were among the winners in mid-term elections last week, the country’s police chief said Monday.

The alleged ‘narco-politicians’ were elected as provincial governors and mayors in the May 13 polls, national police chief General Oscar Albayalde said.

“Out of the 47 (local politicians) in the narco list, 37 ran in the elections and 27 won,“ he told reporters, but added that no criminal charges have been filed against those suspected with links to the illegal drugs trade.

Albayalde said an investigation was continuing against the suspected politicians to be able to build cases against them.

“We are in close coordination with the Department of Interior and Local Government ... for the gathering of evidence against them,“ he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte has waged an aggressive crackdown against illegal drugs in the Philippines since he became president in 2016, leaving more than 5,000 suspected drug pushers and addicts killed in police operations.

The New York-based watchdog Human Rights Watch said the true death toll in the drug crackdown, including victims of hired or vigilante killers, could be higher than 12,000, based on estimates by local rights and church groups.

The anti-drug war has been highly criticised by some foreign governments and international organisations for the high death toll and allegations of abuses.

Albayalde urged international critics to come to the Philippines and see the situation for themselves, adding that the image being portrayed by some international media was inaccurate. - dpa

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