A nephew of one of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's most trusted men was caught selling drugs in a buy-bust operation in Davao city, the anti-narcotics agency said on Friday (10 February).
Jesus Dureza, chief peace negotiator and political adviser to Duterte, confirmed that his nephew, John Paul Dureza, was arrested on Thursday. John was reportedly found selling 15 gms of "shabu" methamphetamine to an undercover Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agent in the president's home city.
Dureza told reporters that he was "embarrassed" because of his nephew's actions as "he is a close relative". However, he appreciated the PDEA for doing their job dedicatedly and not showing any favours to those with political connections.
"I commend the authorities for enforcing and applying the law without fear or favor," Reuters cited him as saying. "That's the way this no-nonsense drive of President Duterte should proceed."
The drug enforcement agency said the seized drugs were worth Philippine peso 200,000 (£3,200). John was also reportedly caught for possessing various other drug paraphernalia, a .22-caliber rifle, and 177 pieces of ammunition, according to local media reports.
Dureza's nephew would be charged for the offences that include possession of the firearms. He had long been on the PDEA's radar, the agency's regional chief, Adzar Albani said.
John's arrest came weeks after Duterte, who is dubbed as the 'punisher', decided to dissolve the country's anti-narcotics units following the death of a South Korean businessman allegedly at the hands of rogue police officers. The incident was reported to have taken place inside the national police headquarters.
He announced new units would be set up to be partnered with the PDEA, which is now leader the anti-drug campaign. The agency has also been given authorisation by Duterte to use troops for support during raids in hostile situations.