Posts Tagged ‘drug war’

Philippines: It’s bad to be dismissed as a lightweight and buffoon

October 16, 2017

A diplomat who watched President Duterte perorating against the European Union last week said the remarks were so incredible he felt like cracking up.

It was not an uncommon reaction. There was the President of the Philippines, his trademark rudeness on full display, ranting at the wrong group over a call that was never made even by what should have been the target of his rage.

Others were aghast, especially after Duterte told EU ambassadors that they could leave the country “within 24 hours” and China and Russia would take up any slack in trade, aid and other areas of cooperation that might be affected.

China’s Xi Jinping and Russia’s Vladimir Putin have so far kept silent, but they must be bemused by Duterte’s mention of their countries backing the Philippines each time he feels slighted by western states. There’s this “us against them” scenario playing in Du30’s mind that may not be shared by his idols.

Duterte has a good sense of humor – it’s priceless in his job – and it’s fine if people think the President is simply joking. But it’s bad, both for himself and the country, if the international community starts dismissing him as a lightweight and buffoon.

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President Duterte has said his principal adviser is himself. In reality, it looks like he does listen to others, and he acts on what he hears. Since taking office, he has convened the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council twice (the same number as his predecessor did in six years), enduring the insufferable ego maniacs of Congress. He convenes the Cabinet regularly and meets practically every week with his security officers.

Dirty Rody had to be dragged kicking and screaming away from his preferred take-no-prisoners approach to fighting the drug menace. But the end (or suspension) of Tokhang and Double Barrel indicated he is sensitive to public opinion at least as reflected in surveys.

So he does listen to others. And it should be possible for him to sit down regularly with a Cabinet cluster that can brief him on foreign policy matters, or at least where he can bounce off his ideas before he starts shooting his mouth off in public.

I know several diplomats who have learned to adopt a wait-and-see attitude each time Duterte says something offensive or out of this world about other countries and their leaders. The diplomats know that the President’s damage control team quickly gets to work issuing clarifications and putting out fires.

While the wait-and-see attitude is useful for keeping long-term diplomatic ties healthy, it also means foreign capitals are starting not to take the word of the Philippine president seriously.

Also, even while waiting for the administration’s firefighters to arrive, foreign representatives are not entirely numb to offensive statements. Hurtful words tend to hurt, especially when uttered in public by a nation’s highest official. I know for a fact that certain diplomats have taken offense. Whether we like it or not, their perceptions affect bilateral relations.

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The President likes to say he doesn’t give a whit. But it may be useful for him to remember that over 10 million Filipinos are working all over the planet. They are vulnerable to the sentiments not just of the governments in their host countries but also by their private employers.

Duterte may also want to consult the local business community, whose enterprises may be affected by his intemperate remarks on cutting diplomatic ties.

Filipinos are working overseas, incurring tremendous social costs, because of lack of decent job opportunities back home. Many of them are vulnerable enough to abuse and treatment as second-class citizens.

It’s also useful to remember that the Philippines is competing with its Asian neighbors in attracting foreign direct investment as well as travelers who can boost the tourism industry and downstream economic activities.

The Philippines already suffers enough in terms of national competitiveness, thanks to a host of problems including red tape, corruption, high energy and labor costs and poor infrastructure. Vietnam is currently soaking up foreign investments even from neighboring countries such as Japan. Having a president who likes picking unnecessary fights can only push the Philippines further down in competitiveness rankings.

Foreign relations need delicate handling by trained diplomats, who can send a clear message when the President is slighted by what he believes is interference by foreign devils. It’s possible to say go to hell, or go back where you came from, and sound reasonable.

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The President can redirect his rage at those responsble for many of the problems bedeviling the nation. The Metro Rail Transit, for example, is a disaster waiting to happen and needs urgent attention. The MRT 3 breaks down practically daily. If it figures in a grievous accident in which lives are lost, blame will be heaped not only on the officials in the previous government who created this mess, but also on the current administration, which after all has been in office for nearly a year and a half.

With the Christmas season upon us, traffic gridlocks are also back around the Customs zone in Manila’s Port Area. And people suspect the reason for the long lines of trucks waiting forever for the processing of shipments is not road traffic mismanagement but fierce haggling over tara, in preparation for a merry Christmas.

Businessmen are starting to express impatience over the start of the promised infrastructure building frenzy, dubbed build, build, build. At least on the socioeconomic front, Duterte is still taken at his word.

In matters of foreign policy, he has been burned enough and must understand the virtue of discretion.

http://www.philstar.com/opinion/2017/10/16/1749207/all-cracked

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Philippines: Amnesty International Says Changes to Duterte’s Drug War are Only a “PR” Move — Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic

October 13, 2017
 
The recent decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to designate the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency as the lead office to conduct the war on drugs could just be a “PR” move by the government, according to Amenesty International. Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times/World Press Photo via AP, File

MANILA, Philippines — Amnesty International said on Friday that the recent decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to shift the responsibility of pursuing his ferocious campaign to eradicate narcotics to the country’s anti-drugs agency could just be a “short-term” public relations move meant to appease the growing opposition to it.

Duterte this week signed an order designating the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency as the main office in pursuing drug operations and relegated the Philippine National Police to a supporting role.

READ:  FLAG chair: Order for PDEA to lead drug war confusing

James Gomez, the watchdog’s international director of southeast Asia and the Pacific, said that the decision to put PDEA in charge of the government war on drugs was just meant to squelch public furor over the mounting number of dead people most of whom are poor and young.

The AI official said that the president had done this before when the police were temporarily ordered to cease conducting anti-drugs raids following the outrage over the discovery that cops belonging to the PNP’s anti-drugs unit were involved in the kidnapping, extortion and killing of a South Korean businessman inside its national headquarters in Camp Crame.

He added that the announcement would have little “meaningful” impact  and urged the president to discard altogether “the government’s fundamental policy of supporting extrajudicial executions of drug suspects.”

“President Duterte has pulled police off drug operations once before, in January this year, only to reinstate them a few weeks later,” Gomez said in a statement reacting to the Philippine leader’s announcement.

“We are concerned that this too may be nothing but a short-term PR move in response to growing public outrage about the drug war’s many victims, which are overwhelmingly poor, and include children,” he added.

Based on the latest survey of polling firm SWS, the president’s approval ratings plunged by 18 points in September.

The president’s office said that this plunge was because the survey was conducted just days after Duterte declared a national day of protest to allow Filipinos to air their grievances against the government.

Another survey by rival Pulse Asia however demonstrated that Duterte had maintained trust and approval ratings of 80 percent.

The announcement of the president also came in the wake of a string of police killings of teenagers in August sparked a widespread public condemnation of brutality and disrespect for due process, something that the 15-month-old administration of the former Davao City mayor had never seen.

Gomez said that what the government should do was to end its “murderous ‘war on drugs'” and adopt a policy that would respect and protect human rights.

“It is also crucial that there is accountability for the thousands of killings carried out already, many by police officers, and that those responsible are held to account,” he said.

READ:  Opposition senators: Change of lead agency not enough; shift drug policy, too

The AI official warned that the killings, which may constitute a crime against humanity, would continue as shooters just happened to be doning different uniforms.

The AI and Human Rights Watch, a New York-based rights campaigner, have both released early this year excoriating reports on the government’s war on drugs that detailed police shortcuts and payments to kill drug suspects.

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Duterte in response blasted these international groups and governments for what he saw as “interference.”

On Thursday, he mistakenly blasted the European Union and threatened to cut diplomatic ties to its member-states over statements by a group parliamentarians warning the government that it risked losing preferential trade arrangements if it would continue with the campaign.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/10/13/1748432/amnesty-international-pdea-lead-drug-war-agency-pr-move

Philippine President Removes Overall Control of War on Drugs from Philippine National Police

October 11, 2017
 
President Rodrigo Duterte orders the police officers facing various charges to be detailed in Basilan for two years during their presentation to the President in Malacañang on February 7, 2017. The President gave the errant police officers 15 days to decide whether to resign or accept their re-assignment in Basilan. Marcelino Pascua/Presidential Photo

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has designated the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency as the “sole agency” in charge of the war on drugs amid simmering public outrage over alleged police abuse in the continuing crackdown.

Duterte issued the order a few days after his latest net satisfaction score suffered from its biggest fall since he became president. Among the events in the news when the survey was conducted was the death of a minor in the hands of Caloocan City cops that triggered rare street protests.

The memorandum also comes on the heels of Philippine National Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa calling out critics of the drug war for being ingrates. He has since apologized for the remarks.

Image result for Philippine National Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa, photos

Philippine National Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa

READ: Duterte sees 18-point drop in satisfaction rating

In a memorandum dated Oct. 10, Duterte ordered the Philippine National Police, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Bureau of Customs, the Philippine Postal Office and other “ad hoc anti-drug task force” to leave the implementation of the drug war to the PDEA.

Duterte cited Republic Act No. 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, in his new memorandum.

In the document, Duterte said all information obtained in the course of the enforcement of the anti-narcotics campaign must be “relayed, delivered, or brought to the attention of the PDEA for its appropriate action.”

Despite sidelining the police from the drug war, Duterte, nonetheless, directed the PNP to maintain its visibility “at all times” as a “deterrent to illegal drug activities.”

Duterte, who easily won the race to Malacañang last year on a brutal law-and-order platform, has stoked international alarm for activating his fierce anti-drug campaign.

Early this year, Duterte was forced to suspend Oplan Tokhang—a portmanteau of two words meaning to “knock” and “plead”—following the kidnapping and killing of South Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo in the hands of some policemen.

At that time, Duterte stripped the PNP and the NBI of the authority to conduct anti-illegal drug operations and designated the PDEA—backed by the Army— to continue the campaign. He also abolished the anti-drug units of PNP and vowed to cleanse the police force of scalawags.

Citing lack of manpower in the anti-narcotics operations, the firebrand leader later decided to tap the police again in the war against illegal drugs as he stressed that only the qualified ones would be allowed to join the crackdown.

READ: Duterte brings back police into war on drugs

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/10/11/1747741/duterte-pdea-now-sole-agency-charge-drug-war

Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary: All suspects killed in police ops were drug dealers — ‘Can we trust the Philippine police?’ — Philippine Government seen as “not trustworthy” in Al Jazeera interview

October 7, 2017
 
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano defended anew President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war by making a sweeping claim that all 3,800 people killed under the deadly crackdown were all drug dealers. Screen grab from Al Jazeera’s YouTube video

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano defended anew President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war by making a sweeping claim that all 3,800 people killed under the deadly crackdown were all drug dealers, contradicting the Philippine National Police itself and several surveys.

Police data show 3,850 have “died in police operations,” suggesting these are drug suspects who engaged arresting officers in shootouts.

READ: PNP: 6,225 drug-related deaths, no extrajudicial killings

To be sure, the PNP uses the term “suspects” when referring to the fatalities. Under the Philippine law, a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

But when asked by British journalist Mehdi Hasan during a recent Al Jazeera interview if “every single one” of the 3,850 casualties in the drug war was a “criminal drug dealer,” Cayetano said: “Yes.”

Quizzed by Hasan about his basis for his claim considering Manila’s supposedly “not democratic way” of solving crime, Cayetano evaded the question and instead defended the police.

“You’re absolutely saying it as if you’re not on the ground,” Cayetano told Hasan, who, in turn, stressed that under normal procedures, drug suspects must be charged and tried first.

In response, Cayetano said: “So you mean in the US or in any country your show is shown, if someone pulls a gun on the police they have to bring them to court first before they fire back? The police are doing what they can.”

Duterte, who easily won the race to Malacañang last year on a brutal law-and-order platform, has stoked international alarm for activating his fierce anti-drug campaign.

Human rights watchdogs said most of the fatalities are extrajudicial killings committed by cops and unknown assailants—a claim that the government has vehemently denied by insisting that police are only killing in self-defense while gangsters are silencing potential witnesses.

But according to a latest Social Weather Stations poll, more than half of Filipinos believe that many of the victims killed by police in the government’s anti-drug campaign did not really put up armed resistance, contrary to the claims of authorities.

A separate SWS poll, meanwhile, revealed that seven out of 10 Filipinos are anxious that they, or anyone they know, might become victims of extrajudicial killings.

READ: SWS: Vast majority of Filipinos think drug suspects should be captured alive | SWS: Majority of Filipinos think ‘nanlaban’ victims didn’t really fight back

In the same interview with Al Jazeera, Cayetano maintained that there are no cases of summary executions in the country.

He also hit the supposed spread of wrong facts in the international community by human rights groups “associated” with the opposition and the Church.

“The point is Filipinos will not support human rights violations. We’re very spiritual people. Whether Muslim or Christian—Filipinos believe in the dignity of life,” he said.

Filipinos have mostly backed Duterte’s drug war even as critics condemned the alleged extrajudicial killings by cops. But the recent deaths of three teenagers in the country’s capital have triggered rare street protests and highlighted concerns about alleged police abuse.

READ: Child killings spark calls for UN probe — Human Rights Watch

‘Can we trust the Philippine police?’

Duterte early this year halted the drug operations nationwide, cussing the PNP as “corrupt to the core.”

He said 60 percent of the 160,000-force was rotten, needing retraining or booting out. A month-long lull followed, but the crackdown was later resumed.

READ: Bato suspends drug war for ‘internal cleansing’ of PNP | Duterte brings back police into war on drugs

Asked if the PNP can be trusted in carrying out the drug war considering the president’s previous diatribes against cops, Cayetano, in the same interview with Hasan, said Duterte was just using his colorful language.

“Last time I checked, hyperbole and figures of speech are allowed,” Cayetano told Hasan.

“We’re not saying we should trust them, we said we should follow the law which is presumption of regularity but investigate,” he added.

“The point is he’s (Duterte) trying to clean up the police and he admits that there is a problem.”

Asked by Hasan if all drug-related deaths are being investigated, Cayetano replied that “every single one” is under probe.

“Most independent observers have said they there have not been investigations of all those killings,” Hasan retorted.

“Independent investigators have seen the progress. It is the ideological and biased human rights groups,” Cayetano countered Hasan.

According to an updated police data, there are 2,290 “deaths under investigation,” which have already been determined to be “drug-related.”

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/10/07/1746438/all-suspects-killed-police-ops-were-drug-dealers-says-cayetano

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Thirty-nine countries alarmed by rising “climate of impunity” in the Philippines as numbers of drug-related killings rise

September 30, 2017
Thirty-nine countries, including the United States, have expressed alarm over what they described as a rising “climate of impunity” in the Philippines as drug-related killings continue to increase. AP/Aaron Favila, File

MANILA, Philippines — Thirty-nine countries, including the United States, have expressed alarm over what they described as a rising “climate of impunity” in the Philippines as drug-related killings continue to increase.

In a joint statement delivered by Iceland through representative Högni Kristjánsson on Thursday, the countries noted that the human rights situation in the Philippines continues to be of serious concern, particularly in the light of killings associated with the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.

The states called on the Philippines “to cooperate with the international community to pursue appropriate investigations into these incidents, in keeping with the universal principles of democratic accountability and the rule of law.”

They also expressed concern over threats against human rights defenders and urged the government to ensure they are accorded full protection.

They also called for a safe environment for journalists and indigenous communities.

The joint statement came as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Philippines was adopted at the 36th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) last week.

Thousands of drug-related killings have been recorded by non-government organizations since the Duterte administration took over in July last year.

According to the Children’s Legal Rights and Development Center, some 54 minors have been killed in connection with the administration’s war on drugs during the same period.

The Senate is currently conducting an inquiry into the recent surge of police killings, including those of minors.

Aside from the US, the countries that signed the joint statement were Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Ukraine.

The Philippines did not fully accept more than half of the recommendations it received during the 36th session of its UPR at the UNHRC.

R. Iniyan Ilango of the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) said the Philippine government’s failure to fully accept and implement nearly 60 percent of the recommendations it received during its UPR is “deeply concerning,” especially given that these include most of the recommendations by over 40 states on its so-called “war on drugs.”

“A growing chorus of voices is speaking out at the United Nations’ top human rights body to condemn the thousands of killings in the Philippines perpetrated in the name of President Duterte’s so-called war on drugs,” John Fisher, Geneva director of Human Rights Watch, said.

“The Philippines has so far shown itself unwilling to heed the calls to end this murderous campaign and hold those responsible to account. The Human Rights Council should step in and do all that it can to end the violence, support an international investigation into the deaths and demand accountability for all unlawful killings,” he added.

More than 3,800 Filipinos have been killed by police in anti-drug operations since President Duterte came to office 15 months ago and launched what he promised would be a brutal and bloody crackdown on drugs and crime.

Human rights groups say the figure is significantly higher and accuse police of carrying out executions disguised as sting operations, and of colluding with hit men to assassinate drug users.

Opinion polls show Filipinos are largely supportive of the war on drugs as an antidote to crime the government says is fueled by narcotics.

The latest survey by Social Weather Stations, however, suggests that Filipinos are not convinced of the validity of official police accounts of the killings, with about half of 1,200 people polled doubtful that victims were involved in drugs, or had violently resisted arrest as police maintain. – Rhodina Villanueva

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/09/30/1744077/philippines-drug-war-alarms-39-countries-un

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Philippine President Duterte now claims arrest warrant vs drug lord triggered Marawi siege — A firefight started the rebellion — The president’s claim runs counter to what security forces have been saying since hostilities in the city began

September 27, 2017
In this July 20, 2017 photo, President Rodrigo Duterte visits government troops who are engaged in a battle with the Maute terrorist group in Marawi City on July 20, 2017. The President gave out food packs and other assistance when he set foot at Camp Ranao. PPD/Ace Morandante

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday claimed that the deadly Marawi siege, which has dragged on since May, erupted after security forces served a warrant of arrest on a drug lord operating there.

“The Marawi war was ignited by the service of a summon and a warrant of arrest of one of the drug lords there,” Duterte said in his speech during the 56th anniversary of the Philippine Constitution Association.

“There was a firefight and that started the rebellion. And I was really aghast to know that until now, they have so many bullets, ordnance and everything that the fight is still going on,” he added.

The president’s claim runs counter to what security forces have been saying since hostilities in the city began months ago.

According to the military, a failed attempt by government troops to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon in Marawi on May 23 triggered the battle against the Maute group, homegrown jihadist militants who claim allegiance with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and backed by some foreign fighters.

“A firefight ensued and our troops reacted properly, but as of tonight, in the Philippines, the Maute group burned several facilities (in the city),” Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in a briefing from Moscow the night of the attacks.

The urban warfare prompted Duterte to place the entire Mindanao region under military rule. After the declaration reached the 60-day limit, Congress overwhelmingly voted to extend martial law in the strife-torn region until yearend.

Hapilon, the appointed emir of ISIS in the region, is wanted for the kidnapping of foreigners in the Philippines. The US government has put up a $5-million bounty for his capture with his name on its “most wanted” terror list.

Duterte has, in the past, said that drugs are behind the Marawi siege, claiming in June that “Christians and the Moro, who were into shabu sought sanctuary amongst the terrorists for protection and to ensure the success of their business.”

‘Marawi drug matrix’

Last week, Duterte released a “drug matrix” of politicians and alleged drug lords whom he claims to have financed the deadly Marawi siege, the biggest internal security crisis for the Philippines in decades.

He then claimed that slain Ozamiz City Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog was one of those who poured cash into the extremists that occupied Marawi. He added that some local officials in Central Mindanao are also financing terrorists, but did not elaborate.

In July, government forces discovered 11 kilograms of high-grade methamphetamine or shabu during clearing operations in Marawi.

A few days later, authorities seized two kilos of shabu worth P10 million in the house of former Marawi Mayor Omar Solitario Ali – a discovery that Malacañang said affirmed the link between the ongoing crisis in the city and illegal drugs.

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http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/09/27/1743196/duterte-now-claims-arrest-warrant-vs-drug-lord-triggered-marawi-siege

Philippine lawmakers do human rights backflip after outcry — Recent statements made by President Duterte showed “incoherence,” U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions says

September 21, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | The initial move to cut the Commission on Human Rights’s budget was in response to its criticism of President Rodrigo Duterte’s controversial war on drugs, which has claimed thousands of lives

MANILA (AFP) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s congressional allies have restored the budget of the nation’s human rights commission following an outcry over their vote last week to slash its annual funding to just $20.The initial move to cut the Commission on Human Rights’s budget was in response to its criticism of Duterte’s controversial war on drugs, which has claimed thousands of lives, with the president also verbally targeting its chairman with abuse.

Opposition lawmakers and other critics of the drug war condemned the vote in the House of Representatives, saying it was part of a campaign by Duterte and his allies to silence dissent and impose authoritarian rule.

House leaders said Wednesday night’s decision to restore the commission’s funding to 623 million pesos ($12.2 million) was because they had extracted an agreement from the commission to look at issues other than the drug war.

“The CHR specifically agreed to look at ALL FORMS of human rights abuses involving civil and political rights, including those allegedly committed by (communists), Abu Sayyaf (militants) and other private armed groups,” House Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas said in a text message to AFP on Thursday.

The commission is one of several independent government bodies set up by the Philippine constitution to check the power of government, including police and military forces.

The body has been investigating some of the deaths of the more than 3,800 people reported killed by police and other drug enforcement agencies in the drug war, as well as thousands of unexplained murders.

The commission’s chief, Jose Luis Gascon, confirmed to AFP on Thursday he had met house leaders the previous day to discuss the proposed budget cut.

But he did not confirm Farinas’s version of the outcome, and emphasised that the commission would require even more money if it was to begin investigating alleged abuses by groups outside of government.

“I clarified that we already have programmes for promoting the rights of all,” Gascon told AFP in a text message.

“If we were to significantly expand our investigation work beyond violations of state authorities, it will require more funds beyond that currently in (the proposed budget).”

The opposition Liberal Party said the restoration of the commission’s budget was a victory for the many groups that voiced outrage at the initial decision.

“It is a win for human rights, for collective action, and for truth and reason,” the party said.

Duterte on Saturday likened Gascon to a “paedophile” and called him a “son of a whore” for expressing concern over the police killing teenagers in the drug war.

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Agnes Callamard, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions

Callamard: Kian’s death turning point in Duterte’s drug war

MANILA, Philippines — The death of 17-year-old Grade 11 student Kian Loyd delos Santos is a turning point in the Philippine government’s campaign against illegal drugs, according to United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard.

In an interview with French newspaper Liberation last week, Callamard said Delos Santos’ death was another defining moment following intense criticisms against the campaign earlier this year with the death of a South Korean businessman at the hands of the police.

“All the evidence before the public tends to show that it was executed by the police: the position of the body, bullets in the back, in the neck, shot at pointblank range, witnesses, cameras,” Callamard said in French.

“We must investigate not only Kian’s case, but (also) all the murders. All this demonstrates the importance of the independent investigation. There was a click. The President went to see the family. He should do it for all victims,” she added.

In an interview with French newspaper Liberation last week, Callamard said Delos Santos’ death was another defining moment following intense criticisms against the campaign earlier this year with the death of a South Korean businessman at the hands of the police. United Nations/Loey Felipe, File

Callamard noted “incoherence” in the recent statements made by President Duterte, noting the change of his tone regarding his support for police officers who are simply doing their job.

“The presidential speech becomes less coherent. He acknowledged that officers acting outside self-defense were guilty of murder, that the war on drugs did not succeed but at the same time it had to be continued,” she said, adding that the Philippines seems to contravene its obligations for failing to investigate all cases of alleged summary executions.

“The lack of investigation constitutes a violation of the right to life. This right to life is the right not to be arbitrarily executed. The obligation of an independent inquiry is even stronger when it comes to murders committed by state officials,” she said.

Callamard also maintained that she does not want to be exploited by Duterte by adhering to the Philippine government’s demands that she swears to under oath and engage the President in a public debate.

“Under current conditions, a public debate in the Philippines would not be impartial. I would be in a situation of weakness, and with me the United Nations as a whole,” she said.

“His strategy was to use the media, social networks and some raw language to get closer to its electoral base. It is out of the question that I enter this communication policy. I do not want to be exploited by Mr. Duterte,” she added.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/09/20/1740917/callamard-kians-death-turning-point-dutertes-drug-war

Philippines: Duterte tirades vs United Nations special rapporteur Callamard send ‘chilling effect’ to human rights advocates

September 1, 2017

Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana says ‘there’s no reason’ for President Rodrigo Duterte to take the pronouncements of UN special rapporteur Agnes Callamard ‘in a negative way’

Published 3:07 PM, September 01, 2017
Rappler
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EFFECT. Commission on Human Rights fears the insults and tirades President Rodrigo Duterte hurls against UN expert Agnes Callamard will also affect other human rights defenders. File photo by Lito Boras/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Friday, September 1, expressed concern that President Rodrigo Duterte’s latest tirade against United Nations special rapporteur Agnes Callamard sends a “chilling effect” to human rights defenders.

CHR Commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana reminded Duterte that Callamard, UN special rapporteur on summary executions, just wanted to remind the government to uphold human rights in its drug war.

“What UN Special Rapporteur Callamard said was just a reminder to government to ensure that these extrajudicial killings must stop,” Gana said in a statement. “There is no reason to take it in a negative way.”

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UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard. Photo: Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV, file

On Monday, August 28, Duterte hurled expletives against Callamard after she called on the Philippine government to ensure that the death of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos would be the last in his drug war.

“‘Tangina niya, sabihin mo. Huwag niya ako takutin. Putangina niya. Gago pala siya eh (Son of a bitch, tell her. She shouldn’t try to scare me. Son of a bitch. She’s a fool),” he said.

Duterte’s expletives are the latest in his series of attacks against Callamard and human rights advocates who have continuously criticized his bloody drug war. Nore than 3,500 people had been killed police anti-drug operations since Duterte took over last year. (READ: ‘Demonizing’ human rights in the first year of Duterte)

No less than the President himself had warned that he would order authorities to shoot members of human rights groups for “obstructing justice.”

CHR feared the continuous tirades of Duterte against human rights advocates would affect the latter’s work.

Rose Trajano of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) on Thursday, August 31, said that the harassment and threats have already silenced some stakeholders.

Marami na rin ang natatakot,” she said at the launch of HR Online PH’s “Protect Freedom of Expression” project. “Dati, alam mo kung sino ang kalaban mo, ngayon eh magsulat ka lang online defending human rights, kung ano-ano na ang sasabihin sa’yo.”

(Many are getting scared. Before, you know who you are fighting with. Now, you just defend your stand online on human rights and you’ll be bombarded with threats.) – Rappler.com

https://www.rappler.com/nation/180845-chr-duterte-insults-agnes-callamard-chilling-effect-human-rights-advocates

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 (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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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.

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)

 (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