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Palace: Media members’ link to drugs possible

Presidential Spokesperson Ernie Abella on Saturday did not deny the possibility of media members' involvement in the illegal drug trade.

"Kung sinabi po niya 'yun.  Then, probably, he has intelligence reports regarding... that can confirm that," Abella said Saturday on state-run Radyo ng Bayan.

Abella was asked to confirm reports on Dela Rosa’s claim that some members of the media are either protectors of drug lords or using drugs.

Last week, President Rodrigo Duterte named five retired and active police officials believed to be involved in illegal drugs.

In his first media interview aired by state-run PTV-4, Duterte said several mayors are also involved in illegal drugs.

The latest revelations are part of the Duterte administration's intensified campaign against illegal drugs.

The Philippine National Police (PNP)  had said that more than 100 drug suspects have been killed in operations since May 10.

The rising numbers, meanwhile, have caught the attention of human rights defenders, including lawyer Jose Manuel "Chel" Diokno.

He said Duterte has created a bandwagon of hate, “a mob mentality that not only condones but encourages the taking of lives because they deserve it.”

Responding to Diokno, Abella said that such complaints should not be based on speculations.

"As far as we can see, the President has given us directives ‘no, given a directive regarding the rising drug — criminality which are drug related...if there are any complaints then ‘wag po natin ibase doon sa speculation. ‘Wag lang po natin ibase sa reportage," Abella said.

He said that if the government receives sufficient evidence showing that human rights have been violated, they will conduct an investigation.

"Pero kung talagang meron pong mga pruweba, if there’s substantive evidence and proven, the Palace, the government is also of course open to any investigation," he said.

"It has to be evidence-based also po, na talagang merong mga ano, may mga paglabag," he added.

Senator Leila de Lima earlier announced that she will seek a legislative probe on the series of killings of drug suspects. —ALG, GMA News