Lawless Nation? Philippines President Duterte Has Made All Philippine Police Into Murderers — “Terrorists With Badges”

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Philippines boasts of 30 people involved with illegal drugs gunned down since Rodrigo Duterte was sworn in as president on Thursday

Serial summary executions

Reuters

Thirty “drug dealers” have been killed since Rodrigo Duterte was sworn in as Philippine president on Thursday, police said, announcing the seizure of nearly US$20m (£15m) worth of narcotics but sparking anger from a lawyers’ group.

Duterte won the election in May on a platform of crushing crime, but his incendiary rhetoric and advocacy of extrajudicial killings have alarmed many who hear echoes of the country’s authoritarian past.

Oscar Albayalde, police chief for the Manila region, said five drug dealers were killed on Sunday in a gun battle with police in a shanty town near a mosque near the presidential palace.

“My men were about to serve arrest warrants when shots rang out from one of the houses in the area,” Albayalde told reporters, saying police returned fire and killed five men.
Kill drug dealers and I’ll give you a medal, says Philippines president

A member of the Philippine National Police (PNP) investigation unit shows confiscated methamphetamine, known locally as Shabu, along with illegal firearms seized from suspected drug pushers during an operation by the police in Quiapo city, metro Manila, Philippines July 3, 2016.

Four guns and 200 grams of crystal methamphetamine were recovered. Three other people were killed in other areas in Manila on Sunday and 22 were killed in four areas outside the capital.

More than 100 people have died – said to have been mostly suspected drug dealers, rapists and car thieves – in stepped up anti-crime police operations since the election on 9 May.

Edre Olalia, secretary general of the National Union of People’s Lawyers, said the killings must be halted.

 

“The drug menace must stop … Yet the apparent serial summary executions of alleged street drug users or petty drug lords which appear sudden, too contrived and predictable must also stop,” he said in a statement. “The two are not incompatible.“

In the north of the main island of Luzon, drug enforcement agents and police seized a shipment of 180kg (400lb) of “shabu” (methamphetamine) worth about 900m pesos ($19.23m) from either China or Taiwan, said national police chief Ronald dela Rosa said.

The shipment was unloaded at sea and brought to shore by small fishing boats before delivery to Manila’s Chinatown, he said.

On Sunday the Maoist-led New People’s Army rebels issued a statement supporting Duterte’s all-out war against drugs, saying it might conduct its own drug operations against soldiers, police and local officials.

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12:02 AM July 5th, 2016


ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST Funeral parlor workers lift the body of one of the two drug suspects who were killed in an alleged shootout with police in Barangay Bonuan Tondaligan in Dagupan City on Monday. RAY B.ZAMBRANO/INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON

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BELIEVE it or not, the Duterte administration is also alarmed at the spike in drug killings in the country.

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Speaking to reporters in Malacañang on Monday, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said President Duterte was aware of the spate of drug killings involving police and of what appeared to be summary executions of drug suspects.

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Abella said the rising body count was a cause for “concern” in the administration, adding that it could be an indication of the “depth of the drug menace” in the country.

At least 23 drug suspects have been killed since the inauguration of Mr. Duterte on June 30.

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Mr. Duterte was elected on an anticrime platform that included killing tens of thousands of criminals and reviving the death penalty for heinous crimes.

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He told police not to wait for him to assume office and instead proceed with a determined campaign against drugs.

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To inspire police, he offered millions of pesos in bounties to officers who could kill drug lords.

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He also urged armed civilians to kill drug pushers and dealers in their neighborhoods, offering them medals and promising to protect them from prosecution.

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On July 1, a day after Mr. Duterte’s inauguration, a man tagged as one of the top drug peddlers in Caloocan City and a dismissed policeman who allegedly served as his bodyguard were killed in a gun battle with police.

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On July 3, eight alleged drug dealers were killed in Manila. Five of them were killed in what police described as “follow-up antidrug operation” in the Golden Mosque area of Quiapo district.

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On the same day, the bodies of two men were found on Palanca Street, also in Quiapo, with tags on them describing them as drug pushers.

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Also on that day, an alleged drug dealer was shot dead by police on Route 10, in Manila’s Tondo district.

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From July 1 to 3, 13 suspected drug traders and pushers were killed in Quezon province.

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According to the Philippine National Police, 25 drug suspects were killed in police operations across the country from June 16 to 20 alone. This means five drug suspects were killed in police operations every day even before Mr. Duterte assumed office.

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At least 22 suspected drug-related killings outside police operations were also reported from May 14 to June 30.

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The increasing drug killings have alarmed human rights advocates, who have called for an investigation.

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Edre Olalia, secretary general of the National Union of People’s Lawyers, said the killings must be halted.

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“The drug menace must stop. . . Yet the apparent serial summary executions of alleged street drug users or petty drug lords, which appear sudden, too contrived and predictable, must also stop,” he said in a statement. “The two are not incompatible.”

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In Quezon province, Gov. David Suarez promised to look into the deaths of the 13 drug suspects, and asked the police to explain the “vigilante-style” killings.”
But Senior Supt. Eugenio Paguirigan, provincial police director, said the suspects deserved to die.

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“These drug pushers should be killed. [They] were on our list of illegal drug traders, anyway,” Paguirigan said.

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Legal operations

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Abella said that while Mr. Duterte had openly expressed his disgust for drugs, the President is “very well aware” that the campaign against drugs must be carried out within the bounds of the law.
“And so whatever needs to be done will be done,” Abella said.

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He said the President also knew that hundreds of people who had admitted to using or selling illegal drugs had surrendered to authorities for fear of ending up dead.

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“I’m sure his ear is on the ground and he’s listening,” Abella said, adding that regional rehabilitation centers would be established to help the drug users who had turned themselves in.

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In the Visayas, 1,019 drug peddlers, runners and users have surrendered to the authorities since Friday. Two hundred-four of them are from Bohol and 160 are from Cebu, who turned themselves in at different police stations on Monday.

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Narcotics police have also been busy since Mr. Duterte assumed office.

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On Sunday, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agents seized up to 300 kilos of methamphetamine during a raid on a farm in Claveria, Cagayan.

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The Philippine National Police reported that the haul was 180 kg, worth P900 million, in a news conference at Camp Crame, Quezon City, on Monday.

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No one was arrested during the raid, but PDEA agents said the farm in Culao village belonged to a certain Rene Dimaya.

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In Cavite province, simultaneous police raids in the towns of Silang, Gen. Mariano Alvarez, Naic, Noveleta, Amadeo, General Trias, Rosario, Kawit and Maragondon and Imus City resulted in the arrest of 23 drug suspects on July 1.

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In Camarines Sur province, police arrested 12 drug suspects in a raid in Naga City on Saturday.

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Firm pressure

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Asked if the President was condoning the attacks on drug suspects, Abella said: “I don’t know if the term should be ‘condoning,’ but definitely he has a position regarding [illegal] drugs. He’s out to exert firm pressure, firm hand in order to deter the spread of drugs.”

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As for the possibility that the President will name in public people involved in illegal drugs, like what he did when he was the mayor of Davao City, Abella said: “If it does happen, and it may, it will not be without precedent.”

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Abella clarified the President’s call for the communist New People’s Army (NPA) to help the government in hunting down drug traffickers.

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“What he was saying is that he’s also recognizing that they (the NPA) have the right in order to be able to combat the whole [drug problem]. What I’m saying is, whatever happens, it will still go to a process,” Abella said.

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“This is not a free for all. There’s a process. In other words, we’re just expanding the ways of curbing illegal drugs,” he said.

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Asked if the communist rebels would be allowed to openly run after drug traffickers, Abella said: “They will follow the right process. They have their own process.”

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With reports from Almi Ilagan-Atienza, Inquirer Research; Villamor Visaya Jr. and Gabriel Cardinoza, Inquirer Northern Luzon; Armand Galang and Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Inquirer Central Luzon; Delfin T. Mallari, Juan Escandor Jr. and Maricar Cinco, Inquirer Southern Luzon; Nestor P. Burgos Jr., Doris C. Bongcac, Leo Udtohan, Inquirer Visayas; and the wires

 

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