MANILA, Philippines (AP) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday accused a dismissed police colonel, who had publicly criticised him and his deadly anti-drug campaign, of criminal involvement and said he wanted to know why the former officer “is still alive”.
In a late-night televised speech, Duterte condemned dismissed Senior Superintendent Eduardo Acierto, who told reporters over the weekend that the President had been repeatedly photographed with two Chinese men involved in drug trafficking.
Duterte defended one of the two Chinese men, saying he had accompanied China’s Premier on a visit to the Philippines and was a businessman who travelled to the country in 1999 to sell Chinese-made cellphones.
Acierto, a veteran anti-narcotics officer before his dismissal by an anti-graft agency last year, said he submitted a report to top police officials and Duterte’s office about the two Chinese to warn the President of their background. But he said he was never informed if the two were ever investigated.
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“In my investigation, I discovered that our President … is often accompanied by two people deeply involved in illegal drugs,” Acierto told a news conference late on Sunday in Manila, adding that he was later accused by authorities in a criminal complaint of involvement in drug smuggling instead of the Chinese men.
Duterte said Acierto was the only police official who has made the allegations against the two men. He said Acierto was allegedly involved in corruption, drug smuggling, kidnappings of Chinese nationals and the killing of a South Korean man.