After Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, pictured, accused public officials of involvement in the country's drug trade, the mayor of the town of Datu Saudi-Ampatuan was shot and killed in a gunfight with police. Photo courtesy of Rodrigo Duterte/Facebook
MAKILALA , Philippines, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- A Philippines mayor accused by President Rodrigo Duterte of drug dealing was shot to death by police Friday.
Samsudin Dimaukom, mayor of Datu Saudi-Ampatuan, a town of about 20,000 on the southern island of Mindanao, died in a gunfight between police and his guards at a police highway checkpoint in Makilala township. Nine other people were killed in the gunfight in what police called an anti-drug operation; no police officers were among the casualties.
The checkpoint intercepted Dimaukom's traveling party about 4 a.m. Friday.
"The suspects were heavily armed and fired upon the law enforcers, which prompted them to fire back," a police report read. "As a result, 10 malefactors were wounded and brought to a hospital for treatment but were declared dead upon arrival."
At least 3,600 people have been killed by Philippine police or vigilante groups since Duterte was elected president in June on a platform of eradicating drug use and sales from the country. Although most of the victims have been poor, and allegedly shot to death after resisting arrest, Duterte said he compiled a list of 5,000 village leaders and 6,000 police officers he said were involved in the drug trade.
Showing a stack of paper to the press Thursday, Duterte said, "This list of names, this is it. This is the drug industry in the Philippines."
Dimaukom was among the names believed to be on the list, which has not completely been made public, although his name was mentioned in August as a suspect. He immediately reported to local police and then traveled to Manila to meet with leading police officials, saying he was not involved in the drug trade and was supportive of Duterte's campaign, the New York Times reported Friday.
"Our defense is the truth. If you are not guilty, why should you be afraid?" Dimaukom said at the time.