Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte: I know presidential candidates

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption ‘The entire country knows who you are. I know who you are. … You can kill me, or put me in jail,’ Duterte said

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he knows who many of the dozens of presidential candidates for May elections are involved in drugs.

He suggested one had recently tried cocaine.

Mr Duterte spoke to ABS-CBN news ahead of the third anniversary of his election as president.

On Tuesday, four of his former police commanders were charged with neglect of duty over the killing of a teenager.

Last year, Mr Duterte launched a ferocious war on drugs that resulted in thousands of deaths.

Mr Duterte defended the campaign, saying some crime had been reduced and asserting that the problem of drugs could not be solved through a dialogue with local gang members or ordinary drug users.

“The entire country knows who you are. I know who you are. … You can kill me, or put me in jail,” he said, referring to one of the presidential candidates.

There were at least 10 presidential candidates, but a number, including two running as independents, had declared they were leaving the race, according to the official website of the elections.

Abraham Domdeo, one of Mr Duterte’s former police commanders, was among four who were charged on Tuesday for failing to halt and investigate the killing of Kian Loyd delos Santos, 17, on 4 January 2017.

Mr Domdeo was suspended from duty and subsequently dismissed in August for his role in the killing.

However, prosecutors decided he was not responsible for Mr delos Santos’s death but to his arrest in a drug case in Cebu in 2006.

Image copyright AP Image caption A supporter of one of the presidential candidates cries as he holds a coffin carrying Kian delos Santos

Tobias Ong, the local government lawyer who announced the charges against Mr Domdeo, said his team of prosecutors would contest the dismissal.

The Delos Santos case is a priority case for the Office of the Ombudsman, an independent authority that has the power to prosecute government officials, senators and Supreme Court justices for crimes such as graft, corruption and abuse of power.

On Saturday, Mr Duterte held his regular radio and television address from an undisclosed location amid security fears.

“I’ve been warned to be careful but I will still address the nation because it’s my duty,” he said.

Reports said he has been seriously ill for some time and it could take months before he is well enough to return to the Philippines.

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