Posts Tagged ‘anti-drug operation’

Philippines: Contradicting testimonies muddling the case of Kian Delos Santos

October 2, 2017

Kian, an 11th grader, died—most likely defenseless—in an anti-drug operation. But there are contradicting testimonies muddling the case.

MANILA, Philippines — For the Delos Santos family, August 16 was just a regular day until they heard that their 17-year-old Kian Lloyd met his demise that evening.

Kian, an 11th grader, died—most likely defenseless—in the hands of police of Caloocan City who were conducting an anti-drug operation.

Police accounts

According to police accounts, Kian ran away and shot it out with officers from Police Community Precinct 7 along Block 7 Riverside in Barangay Baesa at around 8:45 in the evening that Wednesday, just like thousands of other deaths in the drug war dismissed as due to “retaliation.”

“Personnel of PCP-7 Drug Enforcement Unit led by PO3 Arnel Oares and 10 others were conducting One Time (Oplan Galugad),” the Caloocan City Police District’s report on the alleged shooting encounter with Kian read.

“The above named suspect (Kian) noticed the presence of approaching officers, suddenly suspect drew his firearm and directly shot toward the lawmen but missed prompting PO3 Oares to returned fire hitting the suspect on his body that resulted in his instantaneous death,” it added.

Cops said they recovered .45 caliber pistol, four spent shells, and two sachet plastics containing shabu during that operation. They added that they have conducted a background check on Kian’s father, Saldy delos Santos, whom they claimed was “involved in criminal activities in the past.”

A CCTV footage of the barangay, however, showed that Kian was taken, while being manhandled, by civilian-wearing cops and was followed by the police to the alley where he was killed.

Police officers PO3 Arnel Oares, PO1 Jerwin Cruz and PO1 Jeremiah Pereda who conducted the anti-drug operation confirmed they were the ones seen in the video but denied Kian was the one being dragged.

“Kami po ‘yung nasa CCTV pero hindi po si Kian ‘yun (kinakaladkad namin). ‘Yun po ang aming asset na ayaw niyang makilala siya doon sa lugar kaya i-cover daw namin siya,” Cruz said.

Witnesses’ accounts

Two female witnesses immediately surfaced to recount the death of Kian and said the police accounts were not true.

The first witness said the cops were the ones who gave the gun to Kian.

“Ang sabi po nila may baril, ang totoo po wala po talaga kasi bumili pa po siya sa tindahan noong time na ‘yun inangat-angat pa niya ‘yung mga damit niya, wala po talaga. Saka kung meron po dun palang po sa harap ng bahay namin nakita na po,” the first witness said in a televised interview.

“Awang-awa po ako sakanya. Iyong pinagsusuntok po siya tapos sinikmuraan po maririnig niyo po ‘yung ‘haaaa,'” she added.

“Sabi [ng pulis]: ‘hawakan mo to.’ Sabi pa ni Kian: ‘ano pong gagawin ko ditto?’ ‘Iputok mo tapos tumakbo ka,’ Iyon daw po yung pagkakasabi, tapos si Kian po umiiyak na po siya kasi sobrang sakit po ng ginawa sakanya,” the witness continued.

Both witnesses also claimed the victim was violently arrested before he was killed.

“Piniringan po siya sa mata ng kamay tapos ngayon po sabi po niya bilis-bilisan daw nila maglakad. Awang-awa po ako sakanya,” the second witness detailed.

“Pinatakbo po siya. ‘Di pa po siya nakakalayo [tapos ayun na],” she added.

Other witnesses who may testify in the Senate committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs were placed in the protective custody of Sen. Risa Hontiveros. Two of them are minors aged 13 and 16.

While there are witnesses who claimed the police narratives were fabricated, an arrested drug personality identified as Renato Lubares alias “Nono” faced the media and alleged Kian “receives 10 grams daily of shabu daily.” His testimony could account for the anti-drug operation to catch the teenager.

“According sa isang arrested na drug pusher, si Kian ay courier ni alias ‘Neneng’ na kamag-anak din nila na araw-araw na nagsu-supply kay alias ‘Nono,'” Caloocan police chief Chito Bersaluna said in an interview with CNN.

“‘Yun lang daw yung rule, aabutan nila kapalit ‘yung ? 17,000 na bayad. In short, kung ikaw ang nagbibigay ng drugs at tumatanggap ng pera, eh di tulak ka na rin,” Chief Superintendent Bersaluna added.

More police claims

Northern Police District director Roberto Fajardo reportedly admitted that Kian, his father and uncle were not on the drug watch list but he claimed that “intel information” alleged that Kian is being used as a drug runner.

Philippine National Police chief Ronald Dela Rosa who earlier apologized for Kian’s death cited police’s alibi and alleged that Kian was a drug courier.

“Si Kian ay ginagamit ng kanyang ama. Ang ama niya mismo ang user, mga uncle ang mga pusher diyan at ginagamit si Kian na courier. Kaya nag-surface ang pangalan niya sa area mismo,” Dela Rosa said in a television interview.

“Pati ang intelligence community natin na nagko-conduct ng operation plan sa Caloocan mismo, ang mga kapitbahay doon takot mismo na magsalita ng against sa kanila dahil kilalang siga ang ama pati mga uncle niyan, siga sa lugar. ‘Yan ang nasasagap ng ating mga intel operatives diyan sa area,” he added.

At the Senate hearing last August 24, Bersaluna and Fajardo said they only confirmed the drug links of Kian after he died. He said they conducted a background check and validated the information through social media.

“The identity of the suspect was not yet revealed. We also based some sa lumalabas na ano (information) doon sa social media na nagsasabi (na drug courier si Kian). “Yun lamang po ang basis naming after na noong operation,” Bersaluna said.

Family, neighbor’s description of Kian

Asked about the alleged drug ties of Kian’s family, Saldy cleared his son, brother and kin’s names. “Hindi po, kahit po ang buong pamilya ko wala po, kahit mga kamag-anak ko, wala kayong makikita,” Saldy said on ANC.

Randy delos Santos, brother of Saldy, also said denied being involved in any illegal drug trade activity.

To prove their innocence, Kian’s father dared Dela Rosa to personally go to their place and conduct an investigation within their neighborhood. He also challenged the cops who conducted the anti-drug operation in his village to undergo a drug test with him.

Saldy also questioned the police’s findings that Kian was carrying a firearm during the operation. He said his son was left-handed yet when he saw the crime scene the gun was placed on his right hand.

As a father, Saldy also vouched for his son’s innocence saying even his neighbors could attest how good Kian was.

“Ang mga kabarangay ko po ang magpapatunay kung anong klaseng bata po iyan,” Kian’s father said.

“Mabuti pong bata ang anak ko. Naghahanapbuhay po kami ng maayos. Hindi po siya pala-barkada, wala po,” he added.

An unnamed neighbor of Kian also claimed the victim is a kind-hearted and a hardworking teenager.

“Mabait po talaga iyan. ‘Pag galing po iyan sa school hanggang diyan lang po iyan talaga siya nagtitinda po kasi yan ng school supply po e. Kasi po ang pasok po niyan alas dos po ng hapon hanggang alas siete ng gabi,” the female neighbor shared in a video, adding that her child is Kian’s classmate.

“Tapos noong nangyari iyon, pag-uwi nila galing sa school kumain pa po ng lugaw iyan,tapos nagbihis kumain ng fishball, tapos pumunta po diyan sa may botika, tapos ayun na nangyari na ‘yung nakita sa CCTV na dinala ng pulis,” she added.

Saldy said his son dreamed of becoming a cop someday, even asking his mother Lorenza, who was working overseas, to buy him a bicycle to go to his school, Our of Lourdes College Valenzuela a day before he was slain. The parents of Kian still bought him a bicycle during his funeral.

Several groups and government officials expressed sympathy and support to the Delos Santos family. Some concerned citizens and groups staged a protest last August 21 to demand justice for Kian’s death as well as for the death of the victims of the administrations war on drugs.

Some officials and legal counsels also offered to lawyer for the Delos Santos family, however, the victim’s kin chose to sought help from the Public Attorneys’ Office, whose chief Persida Acosta, has been identified with the Duterte administration.

Forensic experts’ say on the case

On August 21, PAO chief Acosta visited the wake of Kian and revisited the crime scene with some experts from the Forensic Laboratory of PAO namely Erwin Erfe, Alexis Sulit and  Angelo Ramos. The forensic experts also conducted post-mortem analysis on the body of Kian.

Acosta said the experts found fatal gunshot wounds on Kian’s body which prompted them from filing murder raps against Oares, Cruz and Pereda.

“Ito ay gunshot wounds. So, nalulungkot po ako dahil  tatlo pong fatal wounds ang nakita at isa po ay treacherous wound,” Acosta said in a recorded ambush interview.

During his testimony at the Senate hearing last August 24, Erfe, head of the forensics department of PAO, explained his agency’s preliminary findings and said they found three entry wounds on the body of Kian. He concluded that two entry wounds were shot by a single gunman while the third gunshot wound inside the victim’s left ear may be triggered by one or two gunman.

Jocelyn Cruz of the Northern Police District, on the other hand, countered the PAO’s findings saying in NPD’s separate autopsy on Kian, only two bullets entered the victim’s head, one behind the left ear and one through the ear itself.

Both of them agreed that the bullets entered Kian’s head on an “upward trajectory,” indicating that the victim was in a prone position when shot by the assailant.

The PNP Crime Laboratory also conducted a paraffin test on Kian last August 20 with results that revealed there are no traces of gunpowder on the victim’s hands. Experts, however, have long dismissed paraffin tests as inconclusive.

Chief Superintendent Oscar Albayalde, the chief of Metro Manila police, said there may be some instances that paraffin test will be negative depending on factors such and type of firearms used.

Cases vs Caloocan police officers

Due to the forensic of PAO, the parents of Kian filed charges of murder and violation of the Anti-torture Act of 2009 against Oares, Cruz and Pereda before the Department of Justice.

The National Bureau of Investigated which conducted its separate probe into Kian’s case also filed a case against the three police officers and their alleged informant involved in the anti-narcotics operation.

The NBI said photographs on the position of Kian taken at the crime scene and bullet marks on the concrete wall beside his body prove an “undisputable conclusion that Kian was shot while in somewhat kneeling or in a fetal position.”

The bureau furthered that their findings negate that Kian engaged in a shootout with a police because he did not sustain wounds on the frontal parts of his body. They also said it is improbable for Kian to conceal illegal drugs and gun as he was only wearing boxer shorts at the time.

Aside from the circumstances mentioned, the NBI also said the Lubares’s claims against Kian were not true.

“The alleged arrest of Nono was only staged to conceal the crime these police officers have committed,” the NBI said.

The PNP-Internal Affairs Service has also found probable cause to file administrative cases against 16 policemen implicated in Kian’s slay.

One among many

Although already laid to rest, Kian’s case remains controversial. Two days after his death, another teenager went missing and later on got shot dead by the police in Caloocan City after the teenager allegedly robbed a taxi driver.

READ: What we know so far: Killing of Carl Arnaiz, 19

Police said that from July 1, 2016 to Aug. 8, 2017, the Project Double Reloaded formerly called “Project Double Barrel” resulted in neutralization of 1,336 suspects during police operations in Metro Manila.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/10/02/1735754/contradicting-narratives-kian-delos-santos-case

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Image result for dela rosa crying, Philippines, September 2017, photos

Director General Ronald dela Rosa (center), chief of the Philippine National Police, cries (as he often does) before the start of a Senate investigation on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017, on the death of Kian Loyd delos Santos, a 17-year-old student who was killed in an alleged drug crackdown, last Aug. 16. The killing has sparked public outrage over President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called war on drugs. (Photo by AARON FAVILA / AP)

Related:

Ronald Dela Rosa

Philippines police chief cries during Senate inquiry into corruption within the force — December 2016

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/philippines-police-chief-breaks-down-during-senate-inquiry-pledges-loyalty-duterte-1593134

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PNP Chief Bato showed his soft side in July 2016 — Good actor. Could be a bad cop. Rule of law disregarded more often than not….

 (Philippines has chosen to ignore international law)

  (August 28, 2016)

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Family of Kian Loyd Delos Santos seek peace after the wrongful death of their loved one. Philippine Star photo
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 (Contains links to previous articles)

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Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl — killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs — looks like it has been put out with the trash….. Presidential spokesman Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.
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Philippine President Duterte Promises To Continue War on Drugs — Average of nine alleged drug suspects killed daily in the Philippines

July 24, 2017
Residents and police gather near the blanket-covered body of a man killed, along with four others, in an alleged police anti-drug operation in Manila, Philippines Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. Authorities said 3,200 alleged drug personalities have died in police operations from July 1, 2016 to June 20, 2017. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez
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MANILA, Philippines — In his second State of the Nation Address on Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte reiterated his vow to continue his controversial war on drugs campaign.

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Duterte said the crackdown against illegal drugs will continue because for him it is “the root cause of evil.” This was despite several criticisms received from both local and international human rights groups.
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“The fight against illegal drugs will be unrelenting. Despite international and local pressures, the fight will not stop until those who deal in it understand that they have to cease, they have to stop because the alternative is either jail or hell,” Duterte said in his SONA speech with the theme of “comfortable life for all.”
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The president said he does not intend to lose the fight against illegal drugs while he shrugged off human rights and due process concerns.
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Duterte said that instead of condemning the authorities and blaming the government for every killing in this country, his critics should just use their authority to educate the public about illegal narcotics.
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“To the critics against the fight [against illegal drugs], your efforts will be better spent if you use the influence, moral authority and ascendancy of your organizations over your respective sectors to educate the people on the evil of illegal drugs,” Duterte said.
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“Don’t get me wrong, I value human life the way I value mine,” he added.
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A total of 3,200 alleged drug personalities have died in police operations from July 1, 2016 to June 20, 2017. On average, nine alleged drug suspects were killed daily during the eleven-month period.
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The United States Congress last Thursday conducted a hearing into the human rights consequences of the war on drugs in the Philippines.
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In his first year in office, Duterte received several criticisms even from international leaders. He threatened to cut ties with nations which criticized his war on drugs including the European Union and the United States under former President Barack Obama.
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Despite this, Duterte continued his call on the public to join his crackdown against drugs.
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“That is why I ask you to join me in this fight against illegal drugs and all forms of criminality. The government equipped with legal authority and your moral ascendancy over the sector you represent can do so much and hopefully eradicates the social scourge that plagues us to no end,” he added.
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Credit: Raffy Lerma—Philippine Daily Inquirer

 (Contains links to several related articles)

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Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl — killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs — looks like it has been put out with the trash….. Presidential spokeman Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.

Philippines: Presidential Spokesman Calls 7,000 Extrajudicial Killings “Fake News” (It’s actually more like 9,000) — Further Erodes Credibility of Philippine Government, Philippine National Police (PNP)

April 21, 2017
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella called reports on more than 7,000 extralegal killings “false news.” PCOO/King Rodriguez

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesperson on Friday called reports of nearly 9,000 drug-related deaths “false news,” months after media organizations and international groups used the figure in their reports.

Ernesto Abella, the presidential spokesperson, said that the persistent reports of more 7,000 killed, which is now said to be nearly 9,000, was “false news” as the Philippine National Police (PNP) said that the figure was much lower.

“On the number of extrajudicial deaths, the persistent news reports of 7,000 killed, which is now being said to be close to 9,000, is false,” Abella said.

The president’s spokesperson said that based on official police data there were only 6,011 homicide cases being investigated. Of the figure, only 1,398 cases were found to be drug related, contrary to reports that 9,000 have already been killed in anti-illegal drugs operations, Abella said.

Abella, meanwhile, called on organizations which report on drug incidents to be fair and not to rush to judgment as he emphasized that people appreciated the changes being implemented by the administration and the way these were carried out.

“We ask to be understood not just from a single perspective, but from the point of view of Filipinos who desire change, stability and fairness,” Abella said.

The number of murders and homicide cases, however, have risen dramatically at the start of the Duterte administration last year despite government’s denial that they are related to the brutal war on drugs. Drug experts also acknowledge that stringent law enforcement policy against narcotics have historically resulted in unnecessary violence and deaths.

Abella’s comments came days after a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed that public satisfaction with the government’s conduct of the war on drugs plunging by 11 points, from +77 in December 2016 to +66 in March 2017.

He also assuaged American concern on the increasing extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, saying that those who breached protocol would be made to account.

“We share the concern of US Assistant Secretary of State for Southeast Asia Patrick Murphy, who has been quoted in the media saying ‘there are elements of the drug war that are operating outside the rule of law,’” the spokesperson said.

Abella said that the PNP has an Internal Affairs Service which would probe into cases of police violations.

“This body can suspend or dismiss PNP personnel based on violations incurred and can recommend the filing of criminal charges,” he said.

He said that security forces followed procedures in conducting their operations although force may be used to protect the safety of the police.

“Local authorities follow operation protocols and the proper enforcement of our laws requires the use of reasonable force merited by the attendant circumstances,” he said.

Not a single cop, however, has been accused by police investigators before a court of unjustifiably killing drug suspects in police operations. President Rodrigo Duterte himself said he will defend and pardon cops accused of wrongdoing in the field.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/04/21/1692511/abella-calls-7000-extrajudicial-killings-fake-news

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Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl — killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs — looks like it has been put out with the trash….. Presidential spokeman Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

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Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kline also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

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Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/07/08/1600763/cop-linked-drugs-tortured-killed

 (December 23, 2016)

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 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

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“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

 

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High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

 

 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa
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Crime scene investigators examine a vehicle used by two drug suspects killed during an alleged shootout with officers along NIA Road in Quezon City on June 21, 2016. JOVEN CAGANDE/file
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President Rodrigo Duterte's crusade against drug users and dealers is controversial

 

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry's Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry’s Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Health officials closed Henry's Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Health officials closed Henry’s Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Philippines: National Police killings ‘committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population’ — ‘Reign of terror’ — ‘Extermination’ — Insiders talking to evidence gatherers for the International Criminal Court

April 18, 2017
At least 39 people were killed in police operations during Holy Week as Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa proved true to his word that there would be no Lenten break in the war on drugs. AP/Bullit Marquez, file
  • Almost 9,000 people killed since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in June
  • Two senior officials have claimed that police orchestrated many of those killings 
  • Police paid to kill drug suspects and – for 10,000 pesos ($200) a head – rapists, pickpockets, swindlers, gang members, alcoholics and other ‘troublemakers’

The Philippine police have given bonuses for killing drug suspects, planted evidence at crime scenes and carried out most of the murders they blamed on vigilantes, said two senior officers.

The officials, who are critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘war on drugs,’ challenged the government’s explanations of the killings in interviews.

Almost 9,000 people, many small-time users and dealers, have been killed since Duterte took office on June 30. Police say about a third of the victims were shot by officers in self-defence during legitimate anti-drug operations.

Human rights monitors believe the remaining two thirds were killed by paid assassins working with police or by police disguised as vigilantes – a charge the police deny.

Philippine police have received cash payments for executing drug suspects, planted evidence at crime scenes and carried out most of the killings they have long blamed on vigilantes, claim officials critical of President Rodrigo Duterte's (pictured) 'war on drugs'

Philippine police have received cash payments for executing drug suspects, planted evidence at crime scenes and carried out most of the killings they have long blamed on vigilantes, claim officials critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s (pictured) ‘war on drugs’

The two senior officers, one a retired police intelligence officer and the other an active-duty commander, claimed the killings are in fact orchestrated by the police, including most of those carried out by vigilantes. They spoke on the condition of anonymity.

‘It is the Philippine National Police doing it,’ said the retired intelligence officer.

‘This killing machine must be buried six feet under the ground.’ He said he was angry about the impact of the killings on police discipline and wanted ‘to put Duterte on the defensive.’ Reuters was unable to independently verify if the police are behind vigilante killings.

The president’s office and the Philippine police did not respond to questions from Reuters.

The intelligence officer has authored an unpublished 26-page report on the conduct of the drug war in an effort to organize opposition to Duterte’s campaign.

The report, titled ‘The State-Sponsored Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines,’ provides granular detail on the campaign’s alleged methods, masterminds and perpetrators. The document has been shared with leaders of the Catholic Church in the Philippines and with the government-funded Commission on Human Rights.

Some of the report’s accusations against individuals could not be confirmed by Reuters; the news agency is therefore not publishing the full document.

Many of its findings, however, support and expand upon previous investigations of the drug war by Reuters and independent human rights monitors.

Human rights monitors believe paid assassins operating with police backing or by police disguised as vigilantes killed two thirds of the 9,000 people who have died since June 30 - a charge police deny

Human rights monitors believe paid assassins operating with police backing or by police disguised as vigilantes killed two thirds of the 9,000 people who have died since June 30 – a charge police deny

The report claims that police are paid to kill not just drug suspects, but also – for 10,000 pesos ($200) a head – rapists, pickpockets, swindlers, gang members, alcoholics and other ‘troublemakers.’

It also claims that civilian members of the so-called Davao Death Squad, which rights activists allege killed hundreds of people in Duterte’s hometown of Davao, were drafted to ‘augment and assist’ the police’s current nationwide anti-drug operation.

The report doesn’t provide documentary evidence for its accusations, which the intelligence officer said were based on accounts from 17 serving or former policemen, including the commander Reuters interviewed. The police commander said he agreed to talk because he was upset that authorities are targeting only petty drug suspects. ‘Why aren’t they killing the suppliers?’ he asked. ‘Only the poor are dying.’

The second half of the report is largely political in nature, asserting that Duterte has close ties to Communist forces in the Philippines. Many in the military and police are concerned by what they see as Duterte’s leftist sympathies. Since taking office, the president has released Communist rebels from prison to restart peace talks.

The report also calls the drug war a ‘social cleansing’ campaign similar to that launched in Mao Zedong’s China, with Duterte aiming to have drug addicts ‘physically eliminated.’

The Commission on Human Rights has reviewed the report and the accounts could open up new leads in ongoing investigations, said chairman Chito Gascon. Church officials confirmed receiving the report as well.

A report claims that police are paid to kill not just drug suspects, but also - for 10,000 pesos ($200) a head - rapists, pickpockets, swindlers, gang members, alcoholics and other 'troublemakers' (pictured, police interrogating local residents in operation against drugs

A report claims that police are paid to kill not just drug suspects, but also – for 10,000 pesos ($200) a head – rapists, pickpockets, swindlers, gang members, alcoholics and other ‘troublemakers’ (pictured, police interrogating local residents in operation against drugs

‘We should do all we can to follow any lead that could ultimately shed light on these killings with the view to ultimately holding the perpetrators to account,’ said Gascon.

The fresh claims come amid growing criticism of the drug war. In February, the country’s influential Catholic Church called it a ‘reign of terror.’ The campaign has also sparked street protests and lawsuits.

Duterte’s police chief, Ronald Dela Rosa, halted police operations for most of February after it emerged that an anti-drug unit had kidnapped and murdered a South Korean businessman last year. The killings continued but at a slower pace. On March 6, Dela Rosa announced that the police were resuming their drug operations.

In March, a former policeman, Arturo Lascanas, testified in the Philippine Senate about his role in vigilante-style killings in the southern city of Davao, where Duterte was once mayor. Lascanas was the second Senate witness to link Duterte to the Davao Death Squad. Duterte denies ordering any killings, either as president or mayor.

In a subsequent interview, Lascanas told Reuters that for over a decade he was paid for carrying out the liquidation of drug suspects and criminals. In the early 1990s, he said, he was paid 3,000 to 5,000 pesos ($60-$100) for each of the ‘jobs’ he performed.

By the early 2000s he was earning tens of thousands of pesos for each operation, he said. Lascanas said he had no documentary proof of the payments. He has since left the country.

In the past nine months, police acknowledge having shot dead more than 2,600 suspects during their operations. They say such shootings occur after suspects open fire on undercover officers trying to catch them dealing drugs.

It also claims that civilian members of the so-called Davao Death Squad, which rights activists allege killed hundreds of people in Duterte's hometown of Davao, were drafted to 'augment and assist' the police's current nationwide anti-drug operation. Pictured, Duterte with Trade Secretary Liam Fox)

It also claims that civilian members of the so-called Davao Death Squad, which rights activists allege killed hundreds of people in Duterte’s hometown of Davao, were drafted to ‘augment and assist’ the police’s current nationwide anti-drug operation. Pictured, Duterte with UK Trade Secretary Liam Fox

But these so-called ‘buy-busts’ are actually well-planned executions, said the commander interviewed by Reuters. The commander said targets are chosen from lists of suspects drawn up by police and local officials, who later coordinate to unplug security cameras in the neighbourhood where a killing is planned. According to the report, street lamps are also switched off.

‘There is no such thing as a legitimate buy-bust,’ the commander said. ‘The dealers know the cops and won’t sell to them.’

Instead, he said, a team of police operatives will execute the target, who is almost always unarmed, then plant guns and drugs at the crime scene to justify the use of deadly force.

‘We have to plant evidence for the legality of the operation,’ the commander said. ‘We are ordered to do these operations, so we have to protect ourselves.’

The commander said officers put the gun in the dead suspect’s hand and pull the trigger with the victim’s finger so forensic testing will show that the suspect fired a gun.

Late last year, he said, police crime-scene investigators told their fellow officers to place the guns at a slight distance from the suspects, rather than in their hands, to make things look more realistic.

Most drug suspects in his precinct are shot by rookie cops who are either eager for the experience or nominated by their superiors, the commander said. The superiors refer to this as a ‘baptism by fire.’

Each member of the team is quickly paid according to two factors, said the commander: his role in the killing and the target’s value.

According to the report, the cash ‘reward scales’ for drug killings range from 20,000 pesos ($400) for a ‘street level pusher and user,’ to 50,000 pesos for a member of a neighborhood council, one million pesos for ‘distributors, retailers and wholesalers,’ and five million for ‘drug lords.’

Police officers kill for money, said the commander, but also out of fear: Even the police are afraid of being included on a ‘watch list’ of drug suspects drawn up by police and local officials.

Officials have been killed for not cooperating, he added. He said he was aware of two cases but did not provide details on exactly what happened.

Most drug suspects in his precinct are shot by rookie cops who are either eager for the experience or nominated by their superiors, the commander said. Pictured, armed Filipino policemen stand guard next to the wall of a prison facility

Most drug suspects in his precinct are shot by rookie cops who are either eager for the experience or nominated by their superiors, the commander said. Pictured, armed Filipino policemen stand guard next to the wall of a prison facility

Reuters reported last year that the watch lists were effectively hit lists, with many of those named ending up dead. Another Reuters investigation showed that police officers were killing 97 percent of the suspects they confront in violent buy-bust operations, the strongest evidence yet that the police were summarily executing suspects.

Officers also cooperate because they know the police force’s flawed disciplinary system, which fails to adequately investigate even a fraction of the killings, means there is little chance they will get caught, said the intelligence officer.

One sign of the drug war’s success, says the government, is that more than a million users and pushers have voluntarily registered with the police, a process known as ‘surrendering.’

But the commander said police are given a quota of ‘surrenderers,’ and fill it by using city ordinances to arrest men who are drunk or shirtless – a misdemeanor known as ‘half-naked’ – then forcing them to register as drug suspects.

Reuters learned of the intelligence officer’s 26-page report from him and interviewed two Catholic priests in Manila who said they had encouraged him to compile it. One of the priests said he edited the report; the other said he helped distribute it among a small group of clerics and human rights activists. Both are helping organize opposition to Duterte’s drug campaign.

The Church’s initial reluctance to criticize Duterte’s drug war was prompted by a desire to ‘give him a chance’ when he took office, said one of the priests. But the killings, along with the president’s overtures to Communists, made many in the Church feel their values were under attack, he said.

The intelligence officer said he hoped the report would be used as evidence at the International Criminal Court. In October, the Hague-based tribunal said it could prosecute suspects if the killings were ‘committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4421430/Police-kill-rewards-staged-crime-scenes-Dutertes-drug-war.html#ixzz4ecS4W7LE
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

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High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

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A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.

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Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP