Philippines Leadership Expresses “Concern” After a Report That Half of the Nearly 3,000 Drug-Related Killings Have Been Carried Out By Vigilantes

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Police probers gather evidence near the bodies of two alleged drug pushers killed in Quiapo, Manila.JOVEN CAGANDE
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MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang Sunday described as “a cause for concern” the report that about half of the nearly 3,000 drug-related killings recorded by the police were staged by suspected groups.
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A total of 1,466 suspected drug personalities have been killed in law enforcement operations while 1,490 others were slain by unknown assailants believed to be members of vigilante groups, the Philippine National Police reported last Saturday.
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Officials claimed that most of the drug offenders killed in law enforcement operations fought with the policemen. More than 16,000 drug suspects have also been arrested.
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“The police operations have been a success,” Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar told government radio station dzRB.
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“But the killings that have something to do with gang wars or internecine since they eliminate each other, of course that is a cause for concern. These do not fall under the ambit of the law,” he added.
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Andanar said authorities are now investigating the killings, which has drawn the attention of human rights advocates both here and abroad.
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President Rodrigo Duterte has promised to wage a bloody war against drug traffickers and to suppress the narcotics trade within six months. He also promised to pardon policemen and soldiers who would face cases for carrying out his brutal campaign against illegal drugs.
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Duterte’s pronouncements have been criticized by human rights advocates who are worried that his policy could result in summary executions and abusive practices. The United States government has also expressed concern over the killings and has asked Duterte to uphold human rights and the rule of law in his anti-drug operations.
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The tough-talking Duterte, however, was unfazed by the comments and even accused his critics of interfering with his drug crackdown. He stressed, though, that as a lawyer, he knows the limits of his powers and that he would never condone extrajudicial killings.
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Duterte is pushing for the revival of death penalty to address the Philippines’ drug problem, which he claimed has reached “epidemic proportions.” He said there are about 3.7 million addicts in the predominantly Catholic country.
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“We do not have a death penalty. So who would impose the death penalty? It would be Duterte,” the president told members of the Filipino community in Indonesia last Sept. 9.
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The Philippines’ drug problem is one of the topics discussed by Duterte during the recently concluded Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meet in Laos, his first international engagement as president.
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“On the illicit drugs trade, I underscored the Philippines’ grave concern over social illness that breeds corruption at the highest levels, tears apart the fabric of our society and the basis of human dignity,” Duterte said in a speech in Davao City last Saturday.
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“I said our campaign against illegal drugs will be relentless, and it will be comprehensive, encompassing suppression, prosecution and rehabilitation. All these measures are within the bounds of our laws. I called on greater cooperation in the region, particularly in the capacity building and law enforcement efforts,” he added.
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The problem on drugs was also mentioned during Duterte’s bilateral meetings with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
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Lee cited the need to implement stringent rules against illegal drugs while observing rule of law and due process. Phuc, meanwhile, said the Philippines and Vietnam should step up cooperation against narcotics.
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A Malacañang statement also quoted Indonesia’s anti-narcotics chief Budi Waseso as saying that his country needs to implement an anti-drug crackdown similar to that of the Philippines.
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“The life of a dealer is meaningless because (he) carries out mass murder. How can we respect that?” Waseso was quoted as saying.
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Related:
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Pope Francis greets a man as he meets with patients, family and staff at St. Francis of Assisi Hospital in Rio de Janeiro July 24, 2013. The pope addressed a group of recovering drug addicts offering them a message of compassion and hope as well as a call to self-determination. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis at the St. Francis of Assisi Hospital in Rio de Janeiro talking to recovering drug addicts, July 24, 2013

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One Response to “Philippines Leadership Expresses “Concern” After a Report That Half of the Nearly 3,000 Drug-Related Killings Have Been Carried Out By Vigilantes”

  1. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

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