Posts Tagged ‘drug war’

Philippines’ Duterte announces ‘dead or alive’ bounties — Calls for police officers to kill their colleagues

August 9, 2017

AFP

August 9, 2017

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte inspects a police honour guard

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte inspects a police honour guard

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday announced “dead-or-alive” bounties worth $40,000 each for policemen he accused of helping an accused narco-politician, and said he prefered they be killed.

The call for police officers to kill their colleagues is the latest inflammatory comment by Duterte in his controversial drug war, which has claimed thousands of lives, and comes shortly after a meeting with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Duterte made the offer during a speech at national police headquarters, offering two million pesos ($40,000) for an unspecified number of officers who allegedly helped a mayor killed in an anti-drug operation on July 30.

“Each of those policemen carry on their heads now, I am announcing, two million per head and you are free to go on leave (to pursue them),” Duterte told the officers in the audience.

“I’ll cut short my speech so that you will have a chance for a crack at the two million for those idiots.”

Duterte added the bounty would be paid if the policemen were found “dead or alive — better dead”.

He said the unidentified policemen had worked with Reynaldo Parojinog, the mayor of the southern city of Ozamiz, who was killed in the pre-dawn raid along with his wife, his brother and 13 other people.

Police said they were forced to kill the 16 people in self-defence, but Parojinog’s lawyer has insisted the mayor and others had not resisted arrest.

Duterte had accused Parojinog of being a major drug trafficker.

As he has done in similar cases of alleged extrajudicial killings, Duterte on Wednesday also vowed to give legal protection to the policemen who killed Parojinog and the other 15.

If they were found guilty of murder, he would pardon them, he vowed.

Duterte easily won presidential elections last year after promising an unprecedented war on drugs in which tens of thousands of people would be killed.

Since he took office in the middle of last year, police have confirmed killing more than 3,400 people in anti-drug operations.

More than 2,000 other people have been killed in drug-related crimes and thousands more murdered in unexplained circumstances, according to police data.

Rights groups say many of those victims have been killed by government-backed vigilantes, and Duterte has boasted that he would be “” three million drug addicts.

Former US president Barack Obama was among the many international critics of Duterte’s tactics.

But criticism from the United States, the Philippines’ former colonial ruler and mutual defence partner, has been toned down under the administration of Donald Trump.

Tillerson met Duterte in Manila on Monday on the sidelines of a regional security forum. Duterte said American officials did not raise any concerns with him.

Philippines blames media for US human rights concerns

August 4, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Duterte has boasted repeatedly that US President Donald Trump praised the drug war, although he still frequently rails against the US State Department and American politicians who criticise the killings

MANILA (AFP) – The Philippines said Friday it would tell visiting US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson his concerns over its drug war that has claimed thousands of lives were due to “exaggerated media reports”.Tillerson is due to meet President Rodrigo Duterte on the sidelines of a regional security forum that begins on the weekend, and both sides have flagged that the human rights debate over the drug war would be on the agenda.

“We welcome the opportunity to address their concerns and correct the perceptions they may have gleaned from exaggerated media reports,” a Philippine foreign department statement said on Friday.

The statement was released after acting US assistant secretary of state Susan Thornton said in Washington that Tillerson would discuss human rights issues in Manila.

Duterte easily won presidential elections last year after promising an unprecented war on drugs in which tens of thousands of people would be killed.

Since he took office in the middle of last year, police have confirmed killing more than 3,400 people in anti-drug operations.

More than 2,000 other people have been killed in drug-related crimes and thousands more murdered in unexplained circumstances, according to police data.

Rights groups say many of those victims have been killed by vigilante death squads linked to the government.

Rights groups have said that Duterte, who has said he would be “happy to slaughter” three million drug addicts, may be overseeing a crime against humanity.

Former US president Barack Obama was among the many international critics of the drug war.

Duterte, who frequently uses coarse language against his critics, responded by branding Obama a “son of a whore” last year.

Duterte also used the criticism as justification for loosening the Philippines’ decades-long alliance with the United States in favour of warmer ties with China.

Duterte has boasted repeatedly that US President Donald Trump praised the drug war, although he still frequently rails against the US State Department and American politicians who criticise the killings.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday confirmed Duterte and Tillerson would hold talks in Manila, and that the meeting would be a step towards improving bilateral relations.

“I expect the call to be frank, honest but to discuss also the way forward in our relationship and also to repair some twists and turns or some valleys in our relationship,” Cayetano said.

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Photos obtained by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism show the body of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. lying flat on his back with his eyes half-open, and both of his hands empty. He was killed while in police custody during a “jail house shoot out” with police. All the police involved were exonerated and returned to duty. Image obtained by PCIJ/Nancy Carvajal
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Credit: Raffy Lerma—Philippine Daily Inquirer

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Philippine drug war. Credit: Alecs Ongcal

 (The Philippines seems to be siding with China, Russia and Iran)

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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 Kine 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)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“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)

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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

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s murderous anti-drug campaign featured in Video — “One of the world’s most brazen human rights catastrophes.”

July 29, 2017

By 
The Intercept

President Donald attracted bipartisan criticism in April for enthusiastically endorsing one of the world’s most brazen human rights catastrophes: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s murderous anti-drug campaign. Since Duterte took office last June, police and vigilante death squads have killed more than 7,000 people, and devastated poor in communities in cities across the country.

Now, a new film shows the human toll of Duterte’s campaign. “Duterte’s Hell,” by Aaron Goodman and Luis Liwanag and produced with the documentary unit Field of Vision, shows graphic images of Philippine police examining and carting off dead bodies, and grieving communities struggling to cope with the government-sanctioned murders.

The president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte has also likened himself to Hitler

President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte

In 2016, Duterte campaigned on a policy of mass extermination for anyone involved in the drug trade — not only drug traffickers, but addicts as well. “Hitler massacred three million Jews,” Duterte said in September. “Now there is three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”

In April, Trump stunned observers of the crisis by placing what his aides described as a “very friendly” call to Duterte, inviting the Philippine president to the White House. Weeks later, The Intercept, in partnership with the Philippine news site Rappler, obtained and published a transcript of that call, showing that Trump heaping praise on the drug campaign. “I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem,” he told Duterte.

Human rights groups have documented how small groups of plainclothes police or vigilante assassins will gun down subjects on the street or burst into the roadside shacks in urban slums. Uniformed police frequently show up later and routinely plant drugs or guns on the corpses to justify the killings.

“I swear on my family, my son is not a pusher, my son had no gun,” one mother wails, turning to the camera. “Please! Tell [this] to the whole world. Please help me! He’s not a dog, my son. He’s not a dog or a pig to kill like them.”

Set in Manila, Field of Vision’s film demonstrates the impact the war has had on urban slums — an effect so disproportionate it lead Amnesty International to label the campaign a “murderous war on poor.” “Duterte’s Hell” intimately portrays crowds gathering around grieving mothers in the slums, watching as police load the corpses into trucks and cart them off.

Duterte has an answer for why his killing campaign has overwhelmingly focused on cities’ slums, not affluent drug users: Duterte once explained to anti-poverty groups that he can’t go after rich drug users because they fly around on private jets and he “cannot afford the fighter planes,” according to a profile in the New Yorker.

Duterte was infamous for extrajudicial killings long before he became president. As early as 1996, as mayor of Davao city, a port city on the southern island of Mindanao where he is still wildly popular, Duterte relied on several-hundred member death squad to kill criminals and suppress opposition. Multiple former members of the group have come forward and said Duterte personally ordered the assassinations, and the now-president has even bragged about killing people himself from the back of a motorcycle.

In many ways, Duterte is a product of political environment he grew up in. He is the first Philippine president from the island of Mindanao, which has a long and troubled colonial history. For hundreds of years, the Muslim community in the south of the island resisted the Spanish, who had conquered the northern part of the island and tried to spread Catholicism. After the Spanish-American war, thousands died under U.S. military rule as the result of a “pacification” campaign in Mindanao.

The legacy of that history is that Mindanao has been the home to several armed rebel and terrorist groups over the years, as well as mafia-like criminal organizations. It was Duterte’s bloody approach to fighting back against those organizations that earned him a nickname he still embraces: “the death squad mayor.”

Video at the link:

https://theintercept.com/2017/07/29/duterte-hell-philippines-drug-war-goodman-liwanag-field-of-vision/

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In this Monday, July 24, 2017, photo, young Indigenous People known as Lumads form the words “Save Lumad schools” as they join a march of thousands of protesters to coincide with the state of the nation address of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines. Human rights groups asked Duterte Wednesday, July 26, 2017, to retract a threat to order airstrikes against tribal schools he accused of teaching students to become communist rebels, warning such an attack would constitute a war crime. U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said international humanitarian law “prohibits attacks on schools and other civilian structures unless they are being used for military purposes,” adding that deliberate attacks on civilians, including students and teachers, “is also a war crime.” AP/Bullit Marquez

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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

Indonesia drug czar warns methamphetamine seizures tip of iceberg — President told law enforcement officers to shoot drug traffickers if they resist arrest

July 28, 2017

Reuters

July 28, 2017

By Ed Davies and Stefanno Reinard

A large group of plain-clothes Indonesian police stand around a pile of bags of drugs.

Jakarta police seized 51 boxes of crystal methamphetamine, which was found in two vans. (Supplied by Jakarta Police)

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia is probably only stopping a fraction of what could be hundreds of tonnes of methamphetamine flooding in from countries such as China, even after a record seizure this month, its anti-narcotics czar said.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo last week told law enforcement officers to shoot drug traffickers if they resist arrest to deal with a narcotics emergency facing the archipelago of over 17,000 islands.

“We have became a good spot for drug dealers, because it’s easy to infiltrate by the sea. There are so many unofficial landing points and small ports, also many islands,” Commissioner General Budi Waseso, head of Indonesia’s anti-narcotics agency, said in an interview.

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Indonesia National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian (right) before briefing the media following a major drug bust. (Antara – M. Agung Rajasa)

Waseso said he believed that 72 international drug syndicates were operating in Indonesia.

The drugs chief said Indonesia would not replicate the bloody war on drugs in the Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte, in which hundreds have been killed, though he praised its aims.

“I never say that we have to follow the Philippines. We have our own laws,” said Waseso. “I have to say, though, that Duterte’s policy shows he is taking care of his citizens.”

Waseso said there was evidence of syndicates re-directing shipments of methamphetamine, known as “shabu” in Southeast Asia, towards Indonesia because of the crackdown in the Philippines.

Kill Drug Dealers

The drugs chief denied there had been any pressure from above to go outside the law to kill drug dealers, and said a recent series of shootings by police of dealers during arrests was due to greater resistance and better armed traffickers.

President Widodo’s comments on shooting dealers came a week after police shot dead a Taiwanese man in a town near the capital Jakarta.

An Indonesian policeman checks crystal methamphetamine from China after a raid at Anyer beach in Serang, Banten province, Indonesia July 13, 2017 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Picture taken July 13, 2017. Antara Foto/Asep Fathulrahman via REUTERS

Police said the man was part of a group trying to smuggle a record one tonne of crystal methamphetamine into Indonesia and was killed for resisting arrest.

Waseso said China was by far the biggest supplier of methamphetamine to Indonesia. Citing official data from China’s National Narcotics Control Commission, he said 250 tonnes of the drug were estimated to have been directed to Indonesia in 2016, while his agency only seized only 3.4 tonnes.

“Whereas shabu is exported not only from China, but from India, Pakistan, Africa, European countries etc. So it must be even more than 250 tonnes,” Waseso said.

He said while data in Indonesia was never fully accurate, the number of drug abusers in the country could be 6.4 million, based on a 2016 University of Indonesia survey.

“If one person consumes around one gram per week, it means they need 300 tonnes per year of shabu,” he said.

To meet the threat, Waseso said he was trying to obtain better weapons for officers. He said the drug syndicates, in addition to having better arms, also had anti-wiretapping devices.

Known at times for his offbeat ideas, Waseso repeated a suggestion that drug traffickers could be locked up on a prison island guarded by crocodiles to prevent dealers bribing the guards.

“You think crocodiles can be bribed? Of course not,” he said, adding that piranhas could be an alternative.

Waseso also said it might better to put drug addicts on remote islands where they could live off the land and the sea would be the barrier to escape.

“Only in this situation, I think they’ll forget about narcotics, because in their mind they will only think about how to get food,” he said.

Editing by Bill Tarrant

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From CNBC

Indonesia hints at copying Philippine leader Duterte’s violent drug war

  • Indonesian officials, including President Joko Widodo, have instructed police to shoot drug traffickers who resist arrest
  • Such comments, similiar to those of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, have sparked fears that Jakarta could copy Manila’s drug war

Under pressure from widespread illegal narcotics distribution, Southeast Asia’s largest economy has expressed a willingness to let authorities shoot down drug dealers, sparking fears the country could embark on a Philippine-style drug war.

In a speech last week, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, or Jokowi, said his country faced a “narcotics emergency” and recommended police to shoot drug traffickers who resisted arrest. “I have told you, just be firm, especially with foreign drug dealers who enter the country and resist [arrest]. Gun them down. Give no mercy,” local news outlets quoted the leader as saying.

Jakarta, July 20, 2017: 1 ton of crystal methamphetamine at the Metropolitan Jakarta regional office. Indonesian national police shot dead a Taiwan drug smuggler and arrested three Taiwanese at a hotel in Anyer, Banten province, after they received information from the Taiwanese government that 1,000 kilograms of meth crystal had been shipped to Indonesia from China.

Dasril Roszandi / NurPhoto / Getty Images
Jakarta, July 20, 2017: 1 ton of crystal methamphetamine at the Metropolitan Jakarta regional office. Indonesian national police shot dead a Taiwan drug smuggler and arrested three Taiwanese at a hotel in Anyer, Banten province, after they received information from the Taiwanese government that 1,000 kilograms of meth crystal had been shipped to Indonesia from China.

National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian also said last week that he had instructed police officers “not to hesitate shooting drug dealers who resist arrest,” Indonesian media reported.

Such comments mirror those of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who is accused of giving police free rein to kill drug suspects. Philippine police have the right to shoot if their lives are endangered when drug suspects resist arrest, according to Duterte’s official instructions, but reports of extrajudicial executions are widespread.

In response, Human Rights Watch slammed Indonesian authorities.

“President Joko Widodo should send a clear and public message to the police that efforts to address the complex problems of drugs and criminality require the security forces to respect everyone’s basic rights, not demolish them,” Phelim Kine, the organization’s Asia deputy director, said in a recent note.

Many believe Duterte’s war on drugs, which has killed thousands, has jeopardized overall rule of law and democracy. Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter Cayetano, however, has criticized media for misrepresenting Duterte’s policies.

If Indonesia, already weighed down by religious politics, embraces Duterte’s controversial policies, analysts predicted an increase in societal divisions.

“Launching such a crackdown will be deeply controversial in Indonesia,” said Anwita Basu, analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit. “Violence of this kind is not well liked in the archipelago where democracy is maturing and people are increasingly becoming more engaged in politics.”

Indonesia, which employs capital punishment for drug trafficking, has been gradually ramping up its roundup of suspected drug traffickers as it battles widespread use of crystal methamphetamine — earlier this month, authorities seized one ton of the addictive substance.

“The market that existed in the Philippines is moving to Indonesia, the impact of President Duterte’s actions is an exodus to Indonesia, including the substance,” Commissioner General Budi Waseso, head of Indonesia’s narcotics agency, recently told Australia’s ABC News. Waseso has previously called for police to emulate the Philippines’ war.

For now, however, Jokowi isn’t likely to embark on a drug war of the scale seen in the Philippines.

“There are some significant differences in the political careers of Jokowi and his counterpart in the Philippines,” explained Basu. “Unlike Duterte, Jokowi does not have his own political party backing him — this means that he will need full support from the electorate and will have to continue to bargain with various parties who don’t necessarily share the same views on drug crimes as he does.”

Unveiling a drastic measure like a drug war wouldn’t bode well for Jokowi’s chances of reelection in 2019, she added, noting that the easy availability and cheapness of narcotics was a public health and social issue, not a criminal one.

U.S. Lawmakers Highly Critical of Philippine President Duterte on Human Rights, Drug War, Rule of Law

July 21, 2017

“If he comes I will lead a protest (against it),” said Democratic congressman James McGovern at a US House hearing on Thursday on the human rights consequences of the war on drugs in the Philippines.  Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission

WASHINGTON – US legislators savaged President Duterte for the “explosion” of extrajudicial killings in his war on drugs and urged President Donald Trump to rescind an invitation to the Filipino leader to visit the White House.

“If he comes I will lead a protest (against it),” said Democratic congressman James McGovern at a US House hearing on Thursday on the human rights consequences of the war on drugs in the Philippines.

McGovern, co-chair of the chamber’s Human Rights Commission, said the EJKs stain bilateral relations with the United States.

There are other alternatives to fighting the spread of drugs consistent with the rule of law rather than killing people in cold blood, he said.

No other country comes to mind where people are assassinated in the name of fighting drugs and leaders brag about it, he said.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier, also a Democrat, said she was disgusted that President Trump invited Duterte to the White House.

“We need to call this (Duterte’s) deranged policy out for what it is: state-sanctioned vigilantism that contravenes the rule of law and damages the international standing of the Philippines,” she said.

“It is critical that both Congress and the President condemn Duterte’s unacceptable human rights abuses in the strongest possible terms, and take concrete action to ensure that the United States is not enabling these practices,” she added.

Republican congressman Randy Hultgren, the other co-chair of the commission described the EJKs as an appalling epidemic and said 7,000 drug users and dealers have been killed without charges and without trial.

He said it was the obligation of the US Congress to not only advocate for but to defend human rights.

“We need to maintain bilateral cooperation with our ally without jeopardizing human rights in the Philippines,” he said.

One of the witnesses at the hearing, Ellecer Carlos, spokesperson for In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) of the Philippines said Duterte has effectively put in place a de facto social cleansing policy with his war on drugs affecting the most vulnerable and impoverished sections of Philippine society.

He has effectively defined a particular section of Philippine society as inhuman and worthy of elimination, Carlos said.

Another witness, Matthew Wells of Amnesty International, said he has been part of an AI team that has investigated the murderous campaign against drugs in the Philippines.

He said local government officials, at the behest of the police, draw up what is known as a “drug watch list” that purports to identify people who use or sell drugs in that area. The vast majority of victims come from the poorest segments of Philippine society.

Inclusion is at times based on hearsay, community rumors, or personal rivalry, with little or no verification.

These “drug watch lists” are then often turned into kill lists.  Police units usually rely on these lists to identify targets.

Amnesty International’s investigation found that, in at least some areas of the Philippines, police officers have received significant under-the-table payments for “encounters” in which alleged drug offenders are killed.

Payments ranged from P8,000 for killing a person who uses drugs to P15,000 for killing a small-scale “pusher.”

He called Duterte’s war on drugs campaign as one of the worst human rights calamities in the world today.

The Philippines is a treaty ally of the US and the largest recipient of American assistance in East Asia and has a unique leverage and influence to help ensure the war on drugs be reoriented towards a model based on the protection of health and human rights, he said.

On the eve of the hearing, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella in Manila described the Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs as a “noble effort to protect the security and safety of the Filipino people and the future of the nation.”

He said proceedings like the House hearing that allege wrongdoing should provide the opportunity for all sides to be considered. “Insinuations and hasty judgments have no place in due process,” Duterte’s spokesman said on Thursday.

A House spokeswoman said the commission has a policy of not inviting foreign government officials to deliver statements at hearings but pointed out anyone was free to attend the proceedings.

She said a speech by Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano at the UN Human Rights Council in May which was sent by the Philippine embassy, was included as an annex to the official record of the hearing.

The Cayetano speech provides a holistic and composite picture of the number of deaths relative to the fight against illegal drugs, an embassy letter said.

Palace: Let people judge

Presidential spokesman  Abella said the administration is unfazed by criticism coming from US lawmakers.

“As the President would say, the real judge of the actions of the administration would be not so much these opinions, but people actually,” Abella told a press briefing.

Abella pointed out that streets are safer now for Filipinos as a result of Duterte’s tough approach. – With Paolo Romero, Christina Mendez, Helen Flores, Romina Cabrera

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/07/22/1720295/us-congress-hits-philippines-drug-war-wants-rody-dis-invited

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Human Rights Watch Hammers The Philippines on Police Reinstatements After Murders — HRW says the president’s statement encouraging the killing of drug suspects could be considered “criminal incitement,” police action could be  crimes against humanity.

July 14, 2017

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PNP-Crime Investigation and Detection Group of Region 8 headed by Superintendent Marvin Marcos faces Senate investigation in the killing of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa. STAR/Geremy Pintolo, File

MANILA, Philippines — A human rights watchdog on Friday blasted the reinstatement of police officers accused of involvement in the killing of a former Leyte mayor, saying that such move demonstrated a “kids-gloves” treatment of the cops as it reiterated its call for a United Nations-led probe into mounting killings in relation to the government’s drug war.

Human Rights Watch, a New York-based watchdog, said the “kid-gloves” handling of the officers was emblematic of the impunity given to those accused of killing more than 7,000 people, mostly from urban poor communities, in the government’s conduct of its war on drugs.

The government, however, contradicted this and released data last May showing a lower figure of nearly 4,600 drug-related killings. It added that many of the deaths cited by government critics were classified as still under investigation although up to now no update has been made on their status.

HRW has been critical of the President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against narcotics and in March released a report accusing the Philippine leader of inciting the killings of Filipinos accused of involvement in illegal drugs.

The group recently described Duterte’s first year in offices as a “human rights calamity” for the mounting drug war killings and the intimidation of his government’s critics.

On Wednesday, Duterte told the personnel of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology that he had already ordered the return to service of Superintendent Marvin Marcos and his 18 men who were found to have been involved in the killing of former Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa and his cell mate Raul Yap last year by the Senate and National Bureau of Investigation.

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The president said that Marcos should be reactivated as he was not part of the raiding team and was far from the scene of the operations.

This generated a slew of strong reactions especially from senators who investigated the deaths last year.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, head of the one of the two Senate committees that probed into the incident, could not hide his disgust and spewed an invective to show his frustration with the president’s move.

“In sum, there is a phrase to describe this whole damn thing: Put*ng I*a!” Lacson said.

The return to service of the police personnel followed the downgrade of cases of these cops from murder to homicide.

HRW said that the return to service of the cops was not surprising considering that Duterte vowed in the past that he would even pardon, reinstate and promote them.

“They can call me and say they have been convicted, and I’ll tell the judge to pardon them all,” Duterte was quoted by HRW as saying.

He repeated this promise on Wednesday when he again offered a vigorous defense of security officials involved in the killings. He said that they should not be prosecuted for following his orders.

“Sabi ko, ‘Wala akong pakialam dyan. File na ninyo lahat ng gusto ninyong file.’ Pero sabi ko and in front of Cabinet, ‘I will never allow a military man, a government man or a policeman na makukulong for doing his duty and obeying my order,” the president said, to the applause of most of the members of the audience.

The group debunked the usual police refrain that suspects killed either resisted arrest or were targeted by “unknown gunmen.”

These drug war deaths demand accountability through an investigation of a UN-led panel, the group said.

“Until that occurs, police and their agents implicated in those killings will continue to get away with murder,” the watchdog said.

READ: UN official seeks protection for Callamard amid threats

Based on HRW research, the deaths of suspected drug users and dealers, which Duterte had used to brand his campaign a success, were due to unlawful police conduct which was designed to lend legality to extrajudicial killings which “may amount to crimes against humanity.”

HRW said that the president’s past statement encouraging the killing of drug suspects could be considered “criminal incitement,” warning him and senior government figures that they could be charged with crimes against humanity.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/07/14/1719536/hrw-blasts-reinstatement-marcos-other-cops-espinosa-slay

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Photo taken in November last year shows Supt. Marvin Marcos attending a hearing of the Senate committee on justice and human rights. GEREMY PINTOLO
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Image may contain: one or more people and people sitting

Credit: Raffy Lerma—Philippine Daily Inquirer

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Image may contain: one or more people, shoes and outdoor

Philippine drug war. Credit: Alecs Ongcal

 (The Philippines seems to be siding with China, Russia and Iran)

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Image may contain: outdoor
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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Image may contain: 2 people

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

Image may contain: 1 person

Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kine 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.”

No automatic alt text available.

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)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“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)

Image may contain: 1 person, eyeglasses and beard

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: Senator Calls Head of the Philippine National Police a “Slacker”

July 13, 2017
 Gordon calls PNP chief ‘Bato-gan’ for not addressing ‘riding-in-tandem’ slays
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PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa (left) and Senator Richard Gordon. INQUIRER, AP FILE PHOTOS

From “Bato” to “Bato-gan”?

An exasperated Senator Richard Gordon called out Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa for failing to address the riding-in-tandem killings in the country.

“General Bato, fix the killings of people riding on motorcycles. Alagad kayo ng batas, ayusin niyo ang batas hindi ang kabaro niyo,” Gordon said in an interview on Thursday.

Gordon was calling out the police chief for allowing the reinstatement of Supt. Marvin Marcos and 18 other cops involved in the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.

The senator said Dela Rosa should have told President Duterte that it would be detrimental to the police force if Marcos would be brought back to service.

If the killings would continue, Gordon said he would call Dela Rosa, who earned monicker “Bato” for his tough image, by the name “Bato-gan” (slacker).

“That must be addressed by General Bato. Babaguhin ko na pangalan ni General Bato, lalagyan ko na ng ‘Gan’ para ‘Batogan,’” Gordon said.

The senator also expressed concern over the killing of a provincial health officer in Cavite, who was gunned down last Tuesday by motorcycle-riding men.

“Ang daming namamatay wala silang ginagawa. They will serve the President and this country better if they do their job,” he said. JE

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/913697/gordon-calls-pnp-chief-bato-gan-for-not-addressing-riding-in-tandem-slays#ixzz4mjK5hlLe
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Philippines: Police Involved in Mayor’s Murder, While in Custody, Reinstated — After President Duterte declared in a speech that he wanted the suspended police official returned to duty

July 13, 2017

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Photo taken in November last year shows Supt. Marvin Marcos attending a hearing of the Senate committee on justice and human rights. GEREMY PINTOLO

MANILA, Philippines – Facing trial for homicide for the killing of a Leyte town mayor last year, Supt. Marvin Marcos is set to go back to active service as chief of the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Soccsksargen or Region 12.

His being given a new command – as announced by Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa yesterday – came a day after President Duterte declared in a speech that he wanted the suspended police official returned to duty.

“He was reinstated. His case was resolved,” Dela Rosa told reporters in a chance interview on the sidelines of the 25th Defense and Sporting Arms Show in Mandaluyong.

It was not clear which case Dela Rosa was talking about. Marcos and 18 of his men in the CIDG in Eastern Visayas still face criminal charges for two counts of homicide.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Marcos may go back to active duty because he had already served his suspension.

“The President respects and abides by the rule of law. Police Superintendent Marcos has served his suspension and is eligible to be back to duty,” Abella said in a statement.

“We leave the matter to the Philippine National Police-Internal Affairs Service (IAS) to explain its decision,” Abella said.

Defending the reinstatement, Dela Rosa said Marcos and his 18 co-defendants in the killing of detained Albuera town mayor Rolando Espinosa and fellow inmate Raul Yap last year had availed themselves of legal remedies under the country’s judicial system.

Dela Rosa added that police officers accused of wrongdoing are as much entitled to due process as ordinary crime suspects.

Marcos’ appointment was effective July 11, but he has yet to report to his new assignment, said Region 12 police director Chief Supt. Cedric Train. The command covers South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City.

“There is already an order but he has yet to report here. He is still at Camp Crame ,” Train said in a phone interview.

Marcos used to head the CIDG-Central Visayas before he and the 18 other police officers were relieved for their role in the killing of Espinosa and Yap in their cells at the Leyte sub-provincial jail before dawn last November.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) earlier downgraded the charges against them from murder to homicide. With the downgrading of the case, Marcos and his men were allowed to post bail.

Dela Rosa said Marcos’ co-accused would also be reassigned to field offices after serving penalties recommended by the PNP-IAS.

He said the penalties include suspension, demotion and admonition. There was no recommendation for dismissal from the service.

“Here comes the decision. Why can’t we accept it?” the PNP chief said, addressing critics.

Dela Rosa challenged Marcos and the other police officers to work hard in their new assignments, “and show they are good policemen.”

Tough assignments

CIDG director Chief Supt. Roel Obusan said Marcos and his companions would be sent to areas where militants like the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) were active.

“Doon sa BIFF and ISIS area,” Obusan told The STAR in a text message when asked where Marcos and the others would be assigned.

Islamic State (IS)-inspired Maute bandits have been fighting government troops in Marawi since May 23. The Maute depredation had prompted Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao.

“It would be up to the CIDG where to assign him,” Dela Rosa said, referring to Marcos. “He will be back on full duty status so he can be utilized again by the PNP for whatever assignment given to him.”

For his part, National Police Commission (Napolcom) vice chairman Rogelio Casurao said there was nothing wrong with President Duterte declaring his desire to have Marcos reinstated.

At the 26th anniversary of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology last Wednesday, Duterte said Marcos should be reinstated because he was not part of the team that went to Espinosa’s jail cell.

“Marcos was suspended. He has served his suspension… so I said give back to the man his job. He’s not there anyway,” the President said in Filipino.

“Legally there is nothing wrong,” Casurao said, adding that the President did not directly order his officials to reinstate Marcos and the other policemen.

“So there you are, I hope our fellow Filipinos will understand there is nothing malicious about that from the legal point of view as well as the practical point of view,” Casurao said in a radio interview.

He pointed out that while Marcos and his companions are back in the police service, the Leyte regional trial court would be hearing the homicide case against the policemen.

“While they are working, there is progress in the case against them with the Department of Justice,” he said.

“That’s never the intention,” Casurao said to dispel impression that Marcos and the others were being exonerated. “In the first place, they are still in the service, they’re getting salaries doing nothing,” he said.

“At present there is nothing irregular about that, there’s still a trial in Leyte. What’s not good is if they’re exonerated of homicide even if there’s pending trial,” he said.

He also pointed out that President Duterte as chief executive has the prerogative to issue directives within the executive department.

“While it is the prerogative of the President to do that, remember the DOJ, the PNP and the Napolcom – these are all part of the executive department and only the President has final say on this,” he added.

He also urged the public not to make the situation more complicated by jumping to conclusions.

“Let’s try to help ease the situation and the problem of our government. We have so many problems because of the Marawi incident – let’s not make them worse by making wrong speculations,” he said.

Casurao said while the Senate may have found in the killing of Espinosa a case of murder, the DOJ has spoken and ruled that it was homicide.

“If there are findings concerning legal liability of murder, Senate can investigate the case in aid of legislation,” he said. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Alexis Romero

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/07/14/1719384/cidgs-marcos-returns-duty-region-12

Photos on obtained by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism show the body of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. lying flat on his back with his eyes half-open, and both of his hands empty. Image obtained by PCIJ/Nancy Carvajal
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Image may contain: one or more people and people sitting

Credit: Raffy Lerma—Philippine Daily Inquirer

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Image may contain: one or more people, shoes and outdoor

Philippine drug war. Credit: Alecs Ongcal

 (The Philippines seems to be siding with China, Russia and Iran)

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.
Image may contain: outdoor
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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Image may contain: 2 people

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

Image may contain: 1 person

Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kine 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.”

No automatic alt text available.

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)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“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)

Image may contain: 1 person, eyeglasses and beard

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: Policemen Turned Murders Starting To Get More Attention — Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. Killed By Police in Prison — How Corrupt Are The Philippine Police?

July 13, 2017

Gordon hits Bato for not advising Duterte against reinstating Marcos

 / 05:37 PM July 13, 2017
Image may contain: 2 people, text

PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa (left) and Senator Richard Gordon. INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS

Senator Richard Gordon slammed Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa for failing to tell President Duterte that reinstating Supt. Marvin Marcos and 18 other cops involved in the murder of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. would be bad for the police force.

“There are cowards around the President who are not telling the truth,” Gordon told reporters in an interview at his office on Thursday.

“Sinabi ‘yan ni Bato noon na galit siya sa ginawa ni Marcos (Bato said in the past that he’s angry at what Marcos did) but he should have stayed the course and he should have told the President,” Gordon said.

“Ang hirap sa PNP hindi nila ina-advise-an ang Presidente. Dapat sinasabi nila na nakakasama sa police force ‘yang ginawa niyang ‘yan,” he added.

(The thing that’s wrong with the PNP is that they don’t advise the President. They should have told him that what he’s doing is detrimental to the police force.)

The senator said President Duterte will be on a “dangerous ground” if his men would continue giving him bad advice.

“They are exploiting his feelings. Ayaw nilang humarap. Ayaw nilang magsabi na, ‘Boss, mali ‘yan’ (They don’t want to face him. They don’t want to say, ‘Boss, that’s wrong’),” Gordon said.

“I respect the President but I must say that people around him should pay him a lot more respect by telling him the truth,” he added. JE

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/913626/gordon-hits-bato-for-not-advising-duterte-against-reinstating-marcos#ixzz4mhxViq36
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

Related:

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Image may contain: one or more people and people sitting

Credit: Raffy Lerma—Philippine Daily Inquirer

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Image may contain: one or more people, shoes and outdoor

Philippine drug war. Credit: Alecs Ongcal

 (The Philippines seems to be siding with China, Russia and Iran)

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.
Image may contain: outdoor
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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Image may contain: 2 people

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

Image may contain: 1 person

Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kine 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.”

No automatic alt text available.

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)

.

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“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)

Image may contain: 1 person, eyeglasses and beard

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

 

Philippine Senate To Investigate Police Actions in “War on Drugs”

July 3, 2017

HONG KONG — A Senate committee in the Philippines will investigate police actions after a Reuters report detailed how officers have used hospitals to cover up executions in President Rodrigo Duterte’s year-old war on drugs, the committee’s head said on Monday.

The Reuters article, published on Thursday, detailed how police have been sending corpses of drug suspects to hospital after they were killed in anti-drug operations. Witnesses and family members said the suspects were executed and their bodies removed in a police cover up.

Interviewed for the article, Metro Manila Police Chief Oscar Albayalde promised to investigate the findings, which were based on eight months of official crime data and interviews with witnesses, family members, doctors and police.

MAKING INQUIRIES: Metro Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde told Reuters in June he hadn’t heard of his officers removing bodies from crime scenes. He promised to investigate. REUTERS/Dondi Tawatao

National Police Chief Ronald dela Rosa, who declined to be interviewed for the piece, challenged its contents on Friday and said police are not medically qualified to determine whether a victim is dead or alive. A spokeswoman for Reuters said the news agency stood by its reporting.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa (R) during a press conference at the Malacanang palace in Manila on January 30, 2017. © NOEL CELIS / POOL / AFP

On Monday, responding to an opposition call for an investigation of Reuters’ findings, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs told Reuters there would be an inquiry.

“I will conduct an inquiry basically because there are witnesses named in the Reuters report,” added the chairman, Senator Panfilo Lacson. Witnesses are invited to testify under oath.

The Senate is small, with only 24 seats, but its members are influential. They include Manny Pacquiao, the boxing champion, and Lacson, a former national police chief. The Senate has also been home to Duterte’s fiercest critics.

Since the drug war began, senators have grilled top police officers and former hitmen in often sensational televised hearings that have enraged Duterte and mesmerized millions of Filipinos.

There was no immediate response from Duterte’s office to the Senate move.

The Reuters report, based on data from two of Metro Manila’s five police districts for the first eight months of the drug war, showed that of 301 victims sent to hospital after police anti-drug operations only two survived. The rest were dead on arrival.

In July 2016, the first month of the drug war, there were 10 dead-on-arrival cases, or 13 percent of police drug shooting deaths. By January 2017, the tally had risen to 51 cases, or 85 percent.

A police commander who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity said the increase was not a coincidence and police were trying to prevent crime scene investigations and media attention that might show they were executing suspects.

In a three-page resolution calling for an inquiry, opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes also cited an earlier Reuters report that described how police were paid to kill drug suspects and plant evidence. A police spokesman at the time called the payment claim “implausible”.

No date has been fixed for the inquiry. The Senate resumes at the end of July.

(Reporting by Clare Baldwin, Manuel Mogato and Andrew R.C. Marshall; edited by Janet McBride)

Related:

 (The Philippines seems to be siding with China, Russia and Iran)

President Rodrigo Duterte's crusade against drug users and dealers is controversial