Posts Tagged ‘mass murder’

Guns, Pipe Bombs Are Not Our Problem: Hatred and License to Act Is The Real Issue

October 28, 2018

We’ll probably hear a lot about gun control for the next few weeks, following the heinous massacre at the synagogue in Pittsburgh. We might hear posturing about better controls over the kind of black powder used by the man arrested in the mail bomb case.

But societies have to identify and then face, and set out doable plans of change to cure the ills most destructive to the society itself.

We humbly submit that the problem we are facing is two-fold.

First, we have a problem with hatred. Maybe its “over the top” hatred and maybe just hatred is hatred.

When social protest turn into a storming of the Supreme Court, perhaps its time to delve more deeply into the root causes.

Police respond to the shooting Saturday at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

When politicians are routinely harangued and hounded in public places like restaurants, perhaps the fuel for such social disorder needs to be analyzed.

The second problem is the license given to such actions. “You cannot be civil,” “When they go low we kick them,” “Tell them they’re not welcome….”

We have been inviting and encouraging confrontation. Now we have it in its uglies form: hatred off the leash.

Our social discourse used to have rules, acceptable conduct rules, and places we considered appropriate for the sharing of disagreements, like town halls.

Now, thanks to social media, everyone in the nation from the president on down feels empowered, in fact compelled, to add his her her thoughts to any issue at any time.

Social disorder has increased, along with the emotional fuel of hatred. This we can safely say is not a safe place psychologically for individuals, let alone a group that can easily be moved to become a mob.

After the Charleston racist murders, perpetrated by Dylann Roof, we had a chance to address this issue.

Roof killed nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, on June 17, 2015.

Now we have a chance to consider the problem and suggest solutions again. Clearly now, to many, the problem seems worse.

John Francis Carey
Peace and Freedom


Hate violence is a global problem – and a crime against humanity

The shootings in Charleston, South Carolina have drawn the world’s attention to the problem of violence motivated by hate. And while the spotlight will inevitably move on, the daily reality of hate violence around the world will continue unabated.

In most instances, of course, “hate” as a sentiment isn’t as starkly conveyed as in the Charleston murders. But “hate violence” has become a catch-all label for acts impelled or accompanied by prejudice, bias or bigotry.

Hate violence is violence in which some aspect of the victim’s social identity – their “race”, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity, or a disability – plays some role in the reason for their victimisation. While the immediate impulses for the perpetrators vary, the violence is nested in a common denominator: a widespread denigration of social identities to one degree or another across nations and communities which permits discrimination, oppression and violence.

Some involves fatal and other severe acts fuelled by extremist ideology, as in the case of the Charleston racist murders. But most involves non-fatal violence, harassment and abuse committed not by dedicated hatemongers, but by otherwise very ordinary people.

When we look at the scale of hate violence worldwide, and the particular harms and consequences inflicted, we can’t ignore the stark truth: this is a global public health crisis.

Discriminatory violence

In European nations alone, the 2008 European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey revealed a disturbing picture of criminal victimisation of minority ethnic, refugee and migrant communities. Roma/Gypsy communities reported the highest levels of racist victimisation. Almost a fifth (18%) of Roma/Gypsy respondents in the survey reported at least one incident of personal racist criminal victimisation including assaults, threats and serious harassment in the previous 12 months.

A more recent survey by the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency in 2012 of the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people showed that just over one in 20 respondents said that they had been attacked or threatened with violence at least once in the previous 12 months, partly or completely because of their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. Almost one-fifth said that they had been victims of harassment targeted on the same basis in the previous 12 months.

A 2012 survey of discrimination and hate crime against Jews in EU Member States, also carried out by the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency, showed that almost one in 20 respondents had experienced antisemitic violence or threats in the previous year, while more than a quarter had experienced antisemitic harassment.

When looking beyond Europe, religious bigotry is possibly the foremost force behind hate violence in the 21st century. Theologically driven hate underpins many of the atrocities committed by radical groups such as Islamic State; elsewhere, intercommunal or sectarian hatreds fuel violence between Sunni and Shia Muslims in Pakistan, Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar, and Hindu Jat and Muslim communities in the Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts of Uttar Pradesh in India.

In Europe, meanwhile, Muslim communities are victimised because of their religious identity –- though these attacks are not necessarily theologically driven and often occur for other reasons, such as scapegoating for extremist Islamist terror attacks.

Violence against women

When we consider hate violence globally, one stark fact stands out: violence against women, most of it committed by intimate partners, is pervasive in all nations, cultures and communities. The scale of the problem cannot be exaggerated. The World Health Organisation concluded in 2013 that such violence is “a global health problem of epidemic proportions” requiring urgent action.

Violence against women is not simply a private matter between two people; it has a deep cultural basis, just like other forms of hate violence. It is incubated in endemic patriarchal attitudes and values about women’s place relative to men in social and personal relations.

These attitudes are pervasive across nation states and communities, although their precise dimensions and intensity differ according to particular local contexts.

Public health

Meanwhile, in violent conflicts motivated by ethnic and religious hatred, civilian populations are not just collateral damage; they are the deliberate target of violence.

Worshippers galvanised by the Charleston massacre. EPA/Richard Ellis

While numerous types of violence can constitute crimes against humanity, hatred has featured prominently in such offences. This is not something confined to distant history: think of the genocide of Tutsi and moderate Hutu ethnic groups in Rwanda in 1994, the massacre of Bosnian Muslim men and boys by elements of the Bosnian Serb army during the 1992-95 Bosnian war, or what’s happening now in Iraq and Syria (to name but a few).

Even in relatively socially stable societies, hate violence can be more harmful than other forms of violence. Most victims of violence suffer some post-victimisation impact – sometimes physical injury, sometimes behavioural changes and often emotional and psychological consequences. In the case of hate violence, however, there is evidence to show that the emotional and psychological harms inflicted can potentially be greater.

The impact of hate violence can also extend well beyond the person who is on the immediate receiving end. It sends a terrifying message to everyone who shares the victim’s identity: this could be you.

In some nations, hate violence is specifically criminalised as “hate crime”. This is an important official denunciation of such violence and provides a structure for a criminal justice response, but it is no substitute for a society’s capacity to prevent hate violence and support victims. Ultimately, the causes of hate violence lie in the communities where it occurs.

In other countries, hate violence will only be tackled with a strengthening of basic social justice and democratic norms. And in some contexts, such as the conflict in Iraq and Syria, the world needs to call the hate violence what it is and prosecute its perpetrators for what they have committed: a crime against humanity.


Duterte announces Philippines’ withdrawal from International Court’s Rome Statute — This is Not An Attempt To Avoid Prosecution — ICC is “being utilized as a political tool against the Philippines.”

March 14, 2018
Image may contain: skyscraper, sky, cloud and outdoor

Audrey MoralloAlexis Romero ( – March 14, 2018 – 2:35pm

MANILA, Philippines — Citing “outrageous” attacks on him and his administration and the supposedly illegal attempt by an International Criminal Court prosecutor to place him under its jurisdiction, President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday announced that he is withdrawing the Philippines from its ratification of the Rome Statute effective immediately.

Early in February, International Criminal Court special prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, announced that she was initiating a preliminary examination into allegations of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines to see if these fall into the court’s jurisdiction and if a full-blown investigation is needed.

President Rodrigo Duterte (left photo) delivers a speech during the 120th founding anniversary of the Department of Justice at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on Sept. 26, 2017. International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda (right photo) has been hailed by The Guardian as the “woman who hunts tyrants.” She is seen in this February 2013 photo.

PPD/Ace Morandante and Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung/Stephan Röhl

Duterte since then has lambasted several United Nations officials and stressed that the ICC would not have jurisdiction over him. The Palace was quick to point out then that the examination was not the same as an investigation. Bensouda’s office has yet to determine whether it does have jurisdiciton.

The Rome Statute is the international treaty that established the International Criminal Court and was adopted in 1998. The Philippines ratified the treaty in 2011.

‘ICC being used vs Philippines’

Duterte said it was apparent that the ICC is “being utilized as a political tool against the Philippines.”

“The very considerations upon which the Philippines agreed to be a signatory to the Rome Statute have not been observed, not complied with, hence the rescission of such agreement or the withdrawal of our country’s ratification of the Rome Statute is in order,” Duterte said in a statement.

“Given the baseless, unprecedented and outrageous attacks on my person as well as against my administration, engineered by officials of the United Nations as well as an attempt by the International Criminal Court special prosecutor to place my person within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court…I therefore declare and forthwith give notice. as president of the Republic of the Philippines, that the Philippines is withdrawing its ratification of the Rome Statute effective immediately.”

Duterte previously said that the ICC would “never never never” have jurisdiction over him and maintained that his controversial crackdown on narcotics would continue until he steps down.



Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, eyeglasses and closeup

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

Image may contain: 1 person, closeup

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands.


© AFP/File | President Rodrigo Duterte’s crackdown on drugs has stoked controversy in the Philippines and abroad

Philippine President “Shoot Women in the Vagina” Duterte Wants To Cross Examine International Court Prosecutor Called “The Woman Who Hunts Tyrants”

February 13, 2018


President Rodrigo Duterte (left photo) delivers a speech during the 120th founding anniversary of the Department of Justice at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City on Sept. 26, 2017. International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda (right photo) has been hailed by The Guardian as the “woman who hunts tyrants.” She is seen in this February 2013 photo.

PPD/Ace Morandante and Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung/Stephan Röhl

Alexis Romero ( – February 13, 2018 – 4:40pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte wants to cross examine International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda if she decides to pursue a case against him in connection with his bloody campaign against illegal drugs.

Duterte, a former prosecutor, said Bensouda would realize that “she is doing it wrong” if he is allowed to ask her questions before the International Court of Justice.

“I’m waiting. Tingnan ko kung gaano siya… (I’ll see how good she is) A few questions, ‘yan kaming dalawa lang (just the two of us). If she decides to file a case… I will cross-examine her there in the International Court of Justice,” Duterte said during a meeting with local government officials in Cebu City Monday night.
“She (Bensouda) will find out that she’s doing it wrong,” he added.
The ICC is about to start its preliminary examination on the killings tied to Duterte’s anti-illegal drugs campaign, which has earned criticism for allegedly encouraging human rights violations.
The court acted on a communication sent by Jude Sabio, lawyer of Edgar Matobato, who previously claimed to be a hit man of a death squad formed by Duterte when he was still mayor of Davao City. Sabio has accused Duterte of ordering the killing of about 1,400 people in Davao City and 7,000 others who were accused of having links with narcotics syndicates.
The opposition welcomed the ICC announcement, saying the preliminary examination is a step closer to attaining justice for victims of extrajudicial killings. But Malacañang belittled the development, believing the complaint against Duterte would fail because the crackdown against illegal drugs do not constitute a crime against humanity.
Duterte has said he is ready to face a death sentence for launching a campaign against the drug menace, which he claimed, has contaminated four million Filipinos.
The president reiterated that he would not stop his controversial war on illegal drugs until he steps down from the presidency.
“I told the police and the military, ‘work on it.’ I take full responsibility of the consequences of the drug campaign…whether intended or not. It will be my sole, singular responsibility, and I will answer alone,” the President said.
“If I do not move, let’s be frank, 40 percent of the total barangays in the Philippines are contaminated with shabu. They’re about 9,000 barangay captains into drugs. How can I control? I will run out of time,” he added.
Duterte said he is ready to face the consequences of his actions, which he claimed, were intended to preserve the country and its youth,
“If I die, I don’t mind. I am old. I have completed all of my dreams. All my dreams, all the accolades, all the applause, I’m done with all of them. I do not need it really,” he added.



Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, eyeglasses and closeup

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

Image may contain: 1 person, closeup

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands.


© AFP/File | President Rodrigo Duterte’s crackdown on drugs has stoked controversy in the Philippines and abroad

Philippines’ Duterte cancels Canada Bell helicopter deal to dodge Canadian human rights review — The man that likened himself to Hitler may be making the Philippines a pariah nation

February 9, 2018


© AFP/File | Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said it was unavoidable that the choppers would be used against ‘rebels and terrorists’

DAVAO (PHILIPPINES) (AFP) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday abruptly cancelled a US$235 million contract to buy 16 helicopters from Canada after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government ordered a review over human rights concerns.”I want to tell the armed forces to cut the deal. Do not proceed anymore, and somehow we will look for another supplier,” he said of the deal for 16 Bell 412EPI utility helicopters announced by the two governments this week.

Ottawa said Thursday that the deal was under review due to concerns over the human rights record of Duterte, the subject of a complaint in the International Criminal Court over the alleged “mass murder” of thousands of Filipino drug suspects.

Bell Helicopter said in an announcement of the deal that the aircraft were intended “for a variety of missions such as disaster relief, search and rescue, passenger transport and utility transport”.

However Manila said they would also be used for “anti-terrorism” operations, including to evacuate soldiers wounded fighting insurgents.

Philippine troops are battling militants in the Muslim south and communist guerrillas in other parts of the mainly Catholic Asian nation.

Duterte said Friday he respected Canada’s stand but added it was unavoidable that the Philippine air force would used the choppers “against the rebels and terrorists”.

“Do not buy anymore from Canada and the US because there is always a condition attached,” he said, adding that he was referring to defence materiel.

“If I cannot use the gunship, the helicopter, then I might as well surrender this government to them,” he said, referring to the rebels.

“The reason I’m buying helicopters is because I want to finish them off,” Duterte added.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Thursday that an “extremely rigorous human rights review” would be undertaken before any export permit was issued over the helicopter contract, facilitated by the Canadian Commercial Corp.

“The prime minister and I have been very clear about the Duterte regime’s human rights abuses and the extrajudicial killings,” she told parliament.

“I have the authority to deny a permit if I feel that it poses a risk to human rights, and I am prepared to do so,” Freeland added.

Trudeau said in November he had called out Duterte over “human rights, the rule of law, and specifically extrajudicial killings”.

Duterte, who has overseen a crackdown that has left nearly 4,000 drug suspects dead at the hands of the police, later described Trudeau’s comments as “a personal and official insult”.

The Philippine government says police have only shot suspects in self-defence and rejects human rights monitors’ description of the crackdown as a crime against humanity.


Philippines: International Criminal Court to review killings tied to the Duterte administration’s war on drugs

February 8, 2018

“As a sovereign state, the Philippines’ has the inherent responsibility to protect its current and future generations by effectively addressing threats of the safety and well-being of its citizens such as proliferation of illegal drugs. Because the war against drugs is a lawful, legitimate police operation, it cannot be characterized as an attack against civilian populations because they are civilians,” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque siad. Photo

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) – February 9, 2018 – 12:01am

MANILA, Philippines — The International Criminal Court (ICC) is set to start a “preliminary examination” of killings tied to the Duterte administration’s war on drugs – a move welcomed by Malacañang, which said the President’s detractors would fail.

The action stemmed from communication filed last year by Jude Sabio, lawyer of Edgar Matobato, who claims to be a former member of a death squad allegedly organized by Duterte in Davao City where he was mayor for 23 years.

Sabio is asking the ICC to probe Duterte and other officials and indict them for crimes against humanity for what he described as the “mass murder” of drug suspects.

He claimed that the death squad in Davao City killed about 1,400 people while the current anti-drug war has left about 7,000 persons dead.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque downplayed the ICC’s move, which he himself disclosed yesterday, saying the claim that Duterte had committed crimes against humanity lacked merit.

“No one should claim victory because only in the stage of preliminary examination,” Roque said.

“As a sovereign state, the Philippines’ has the inherent responsibility to protect its current and future generations by effectively addressing threats of the safety and well-being of its citizens such as proliferation of illegal drugs. Because the war against drugs is a lawful, legitimate police operation, it cannot be characterized as an attack against civilian populations because they are civilians,” he added.

Roque, a former professor of international law, explained that preliminary examination is different from preliminary investigation. A preliminary examination seeks to determine if there is reasonable basis to proceed to a preliminary investigation.

More than 19,000 “homicide” cases have been recorded by police since Duterte began his war on drugs in 2016. Only about 2,000 of the cases were drug-related, according to officials.

The Philippine National Police has conducted more than 64,000 anti-drug operations, which resulted in the arrest of more than 102,000 drug personalities.

Roque said Duterte welcomed the preliminary examination because he is “sick and tired” of being accused of committing crimes against humanity. He claimed the ICC has no jurisdiction over the drug war because Philippine courts are still functioning.

“This is an opportunity for him to prove that this is not subject to the court’s jurisdiction because of both complementarity that domestic courts and the fact that we have a domestic international humanitarian law statute in our jurisdiction, are reasons enough for the Court not to exercise jurisdiction,” Roque said.

“After a preliminary investigation, the prosecutor would have to go to the pre-trial chamber of the Court for confirmation of charges before the charges can even be filed in the court,” the spokesman said.

Roque claimed the allegations against Duterte are part of a “concerted public relations initiative” by “domestic enemies of the state.”

“Obviously this is intended to embarrass the President but the President is a lawyer, he knows what the procedures are, they will fail. The President has said that if need be he will argue his case personally before the International Criminal Court,” he said.

“He said he wants to be in Court and put the prosecutor on the stand. To ask who prodded you to proceed to preliminary examination, because it is the suspicion of the President that it is of course the domestic enemies of the state behind this,” Roque pointed out.

He maintained that Sabio, Matobato and opposition lawmakers Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano are just wasting the resources of the ICC as their efforts are doomed to fail. “In our case, they will not go beyond preliminary examination,” he said.

In June 2017, Trillanes and Alejano filed a supplemental complaint before the ICC, where they affirmed and provided updates to the complaint filed by Sabio.

“I am confident that, based on my communication, as well as that of Sen. Trillanes’ and Rep. Alejano’s, we will hurdle this first big step, and hopefully a warrant of arrest will be issued soon by the ICC against Duterte and his cohorts,” Sabio said in a statement.

“His (Duterte) system of death squad killings, which started through the Davao Death Squad and was continued on a national scale through the war on drugs, will now be investigated by the ICC and justice will be done,” he added.

Not above the law

Reacting to the development, Trillanes said the preliminary examination being readied by the ICC is a “first step for the families’ quest for justice” for their slain loved ones. The ICC move “should jolt Duterte into realizing that he is not above the law,” he added.

Alejano said he hopes the ICC examination “will be allowed to carry on unhindered and with full cooperation from concerned authorities, organizations and personalities.”

He stressed that President Duterte and those who perpetuate and defend his alleged policy of killing should be held accountable.

“This initial step of the ICC is also the first step towards bringing justice to the families and all the victims of the war on drugs. The ICC stepping in is a ray of hope amid the compromised rule of law under this administration,” he said.

Akbayan party-list Rep. Tom Villarin said even “enablers” of extrajudicial killings including Roque should be made to account for the anti-drug deaths.

He said a possible case against Duterte “will be damning and damaging to his administration in the eyes of our people and the international community.”

“I am hopeful that people will now realize the truth and demand accountability from him with all constitutional options available,” he added.

Leftist party-list group Kabataan said the ICC probe “is a challenge for both domestic and other international organizations to actively participate and to lend their findings for a thorough and objective investigation.”

“This is, however, reflective of the dismal state of our justice system. 13,000 deaths and still counting, yet the Duterte administration remains determined in pursuing the drug war – to the point of re-launching it three times with revised but still problematic guidelines,” it said.

“We hope that the ICC will welcome the investigation not only of drug-related killings but also other blatant state-sponsored human rights violations that have assisted and tolerated the prevailing culture of impunity,” the group said.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR), for its part, urged the Duterte administration to cooperate with the ICC.

“The government, as a party to the Rome Statute, is duty bound to fully cooperate with the ICC,” CHR chairman Chito Gascon said, referring to the 1998 treaty that established the ICC. He admitted they have not received yet official communication from the ICC.

“In particular, we hope the authorities of our police and justice department will provide all relevant information for the successful conduct of its preliminary examination,” he added. Jess Diaz, Marvin Sy, Janvic Mateo


Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte called the “worst kind of president” who is on his way to declaring a “fascist dictatorship.”

September 15, 2017
Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 15 2017 10:25 AM

MANILA – Communist leader Jose Maria Sison on Friday slammed President Rodrigo Duterte, describing him as the “worst kind of president” who is on his way to declaring a “fascist dictatorship.”

Sison, founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines, said Duterte controls all branches of government and has drafted a “killing budget” that allocates only P1,000 for the Commission of Human Rights and millions of pesos to law enforcement in the campaign against illegal drugs.

“I think I have a lot of criticisms to make of previous presidents, but this is the worst kind of president,” Sison told ANC’s Early Edition.

“I would say that Duterte is very well on the way to proclaiming a fascist dictatorship. He’s preparing for martial law and to impose a fascist dictatorship in the Philippines,” he said.

Duterte’s control of the Supreme Court, he said, is manifested by the “quick acquittal of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as a way of paying for the support” the former president gave the incumbent.

The leftist leader also slammed the “glorification” of the late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, whose remains were laid to rest at the Libingan ng mga Bayani with the high court’s nod.

“That Supreme Court has already given a blank check for proclaiming martial law nationwide,” Sison said.

“But the attack of Duterte on [Chief Justice] Sereno is meant to complete, to tighten complete control over the Supreme Court,” he added, referring to the impeachment complain filed against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.


Sison also denounced the Lower House’s move to allocate only P1,000 to the CHR, which supports his statement that Duterte is heading towards dictatorship.

“The way the budget is made, it’s a killing budget, a budget for killing people, and a budget for expressing contempt for human rights.”

“Reducing budget of the CHR to just P1,000 and then giving ‘tokhang’ this scheme of mass murder, 900 million plus other funds of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and a huge intelligence fund of Duterte—this is a budget for fascist dictatorship and for killing more people,” he said.

Sison claimed P50,000 is the “going price” for each head of drug users and street-level peddlers, while P100,000 is for each suspected communist rebel.

“They’re preparing for massacres in the Philippines,” he said.

“We are looking forward to despotic regime of widespread death and destruction. That is already well demonstrated in the destruction of Marawi,” he added.

Duterte earlier said he has decided to abandon peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), saying the fighting between government and communist rebels could go on for “another 50 years.”

He also claimed Sison has colon cancer, which the latter denied.

Philippine President’s Senate Foes, Allies Vow to Block Budget Cut for Rights Body

September 13, 2017

MANILA — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s critics and allies in the Senate vowed on Wednesday to block a lower house move to slash the annual budget of a public-funded human rights agency opposed to his bloody war on drugs to just $20.

The house, dominated by Duterte’s supporters, voted on Tuesday to allocate a 2018 budget of just 1,000 pesos ($20) to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), which has investigated hundreds of killings during the president’s ferocious anti-narcotics crackdown.

Vice President Leni Robredo, who was not Duterte’s running mate and has locked horns with him numerous times, said the lawmakers’ move effectively abolishes the CHR, a constitutional body.

Duterte’s signature campaign has left thousands of mostly urban poor Filipinos dead. Critics say the lawmakers are trying to retaliate against the CHR for pursuing allegations of executions by police during sting operations, which police deny.

The CHR is among the domestic and foreign rights groups that Duterte frequently admonishes, accusing them of lecturing him and disregarding Filipinos who are victims of crimes stemming from drug addiction.

The upper house minority bloc, composed of six staunch critics of the president, will seek to restore the 678 million peso budget the government and a Senate sub-committee had proposed for the CHR.

Senator Risa Hontiveros described the plan to cut the budget to almost nil as “a shameless rejection of the country’s international and national commitments to champion human rights”.

Several allies of Duterte in the 24-seat chamber said they would scrutinize the house move and try to ensure the commission had a budget that would allow it to work properly.

Senator Richard Gordon said the CHR had a job to do and should not be restricted.

“That is their role – to expose possible abuses,” he said.

Another legislator, JV Ejercito said senators would not make the CHR impotent.

“The CHR is in the thick of things and very relevant nowadays and probably even next year and the years to follow because of what’s happening,” he said in a statement.

Duterte once threatened to abolish the CHR after its chief, Chito Gascon, sought to investigate alleged abuses by police anti-drugs units.

Duterte on Tuesday appeared to distance himself from the lawmakers proposing the meager budget. He said CHR was constitutionally created and should probe whatever it wants, adding he was “not here to destroy institutions”.

“He had it coming. He opens his mouth in a most inappropriate way. He knows nothing,” Duterte said, referring to Gascon.

“The congressmen are really angry. I have nothing against him. Give them a budget for all I care, whatever he likes to investigate.”

(Additional reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Martin Petty)


Philippine lawmakers attack rights commission, chief justice (Rule of Law and Human Rights Under Fire on the Path to Dictatorship )

September 13, 2017


© AFP/File / by Cecil MORELLA | Rights groups say police and state-sponsored gunmen are committing mass murder in the Philippines’ war on drugs

MANILA (AFP) – Philippine lawmakers have moved to cut the budget of the nation’s human rights commission to $20 and impeach the Supreme Court chief justice in what critics on Wednesday labelled part of a slide towards dictatorship under President Rodrigo Duterte.

The twin votes in the House of Representatives added to a growing climate of fear that Duterte is determined to silence anyone critical of his war on drugs, which has claimed thousands of lives and led rights groups to warn of a crime against humanity.

Duterte directly drew a link between Tuesday night’s vote to cut the Commission on Human Rights’ annual budget from 678 million pesos ($1.3 million) to 1,000 pesos and its investigations of the drug war killings and related criticism by its chairman.

“He had it coming,” Duterte told reporters late Tuesday, referring to commission chairman Jose Gascon.

“They only gave him 1,000 pesos (about $20) because Congress is angry.”

The commission is one of several independent government bodies set up by the constitution to check the power of the executive branch, which controls the country’s police and military forces.

The Supreme Court is meant to be another safeguard.

Duterte’s allies in the lower house’s justice committee on Wednesday also voted to impeach its chief justice after determining corruption allegations against her had substance.

The chief justice, Maria Lourdes Sereno, has been another critic of the drug war.

She wrote Duterte a letter last year expressing concern over him publicly naming seven judges as being involved in the drug trade, warning it made them vulnerable to being killed.

Duterte responded by threatening to declare martial law if Sereno continued to interfere in his drug war.

Should the entire house endorse the justice committee’s findings against Sereno, the Senate would convene as an impeachment court.

The Senate still has to review and endorse the vote to slash the rights commission’s budget.

The Senate is also dominated by Duterte allies, but it has proved more independent than the lower house and it could still over-rule the moves against the rights commission and Sereno.

– ‘Path to dictatorship’ –

Nevertheless, critics warned of authoritarian rule under Duterte — a self-described socialist who has repeatedly praised late Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“This leads us on a direct path to dictatorship,” Senator Francis Pangilinan, leader of the Liberal Party, the country’s main opposition group, said in response to Tuesday’s vote.

Teodoro Casino, a former House member representing the left wing Bayan Muna party, expressed similar sentiments when commenting on the move against Sereno.

“We see this as part of an attempt to harass and bully the Supreme Court, through Chief Justice Sereno, over her critical stance toward the president,” Casino told AFP.

“The institutions designed… to serve as watchdogs to the administration, especially on the issue of human rights, are being attacked and weakened.”

Duterte also vowed at the weekend to “destroy” another of his chief drug war critics, Senator Antonio Trillanes.

Another main critic, Senator Leila de Lima, was this year jailed on charges of drug trafficking. Rights groups and European lawmakers describe her a political prisoner.

Duterte easily won elections last year after campaigning on a law-and-order platform, promising to unleash an unprecedented crackdown on illegal drugs in which tens of thousands of people would be killed.

Police have reported killing more than 3,800 people in anti-drug operations since he assumed office 15 months ago.

Many thousands of others have been killed in unexplained circumstances.

Rights groups warn police and state-sponsored gunmen are committing mass murder.

Duterte has said as president he would be “happy to slaughter” three million drug addicts, and repeatedly promised police he would not allow them to go to prison for killing as part of the drug war.

On the campaign trail, Duterte also said he would pardon police officers if they were found guilty of multiple cases of murder for killing in the drug war.

Most Filipinos continue to support the crackdown, according to polls.

But the influential Catholic Church is leading a growing campaign of resistance, which in recent weeks has seen rare street rallies calling for an end to the killings.

by Cecil MORELLA

Philippine police use hospitals to hide drug war killings — Plus Philippine National Police Chief Response

July 1, 2017

By Reuters

Since late 2016, police have delivered hundreds of drug suspects to Manila hospitals. A Reuters investigation has revealed almost all were dead on arrival. Witnesses and family members say they were executed and their bodies removed from the scene in a police cover up.


Filed June 29, 2017, noon GMT


MANILA – The residents of Old Balara hid in their homes when gunfire erupted in their Manila district last September. They didn’t see the police operation that killed seven drug suspects that night.

But they witnessed the gory aftermath and it haunts them still.

That night, Herlina Alim said she watched police haul away the men’s bodies, leaving trails of blood. “They were dragged down the alley like pigs,” she said. Her neighbor Lenlen Magano said she saw three bodies, face down and motionless, piled at the end of the alley while police stood calmly by.

It was at least an hour, according to residents, before the victims were thrown into a truck and taken to hospital in what a police report said was a bid to save their lives. Old Balara’s chief, the elected head of the district, told Reuters he was perplexed. They were already dead, Allan Franza said, so why take them to hospital?

An analysis of crime data from two of Metro Manila’s five police districts and interviews with doctors, law enforcement officials and victims’ families point to one answer: Police were sending corpses to hospitals to destroy evidence at crime scenes and hide the fact that they were executing drug suspects.

Philippine police rack up an almost perfect deadly record in drug war

Thousands of people have been killed since President Rodrigo Duterte took office on June 30 last year and declared war on what he called “the drug menace.” Among them were the seven victims from Old Balara who were declared dead on arrival at hospital.

A Reuters analysis of police reports covering the first eight months of the drug war reveals hundreds of cases like those in Old Balara. In Quezon City Police District and neighboring Manila Police District, 301 victims were taken to hospital after police drug operations. Only two survived. The rest were dead on arrival.

The data also shows a sharp increase in the number of drug suspects declared dead on arrival in these two districts each month. There were 10 cases at the start of the drug war in July 2016, representing 13 percent of police drug shooting deaths. By January 2017, the tally had risen to 51 cases or 85 percent. The totals grew along with international and domestic condemnation of Duterte’s campaign.

This increase was no coincidence, said a police commander in Manila, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity. In late 2016, he said, police began sending victims to hospitals to avoid crime scene investigations and media attention that might show they were executing drug suspects. A Reuters investigation last year found that when police opened fire in drug operations, they killed 97 percent of people they shot.

The Manila commander said police depended on emergency room doctors being too focused on the patients to care about why they were shot. The doctors “aren’t asking any questions. They only record it: DOA,” he said.

But five doctors told Reuters they were troubled by the rising number of police-related DOAs. Four said many drug suspects brought to hospital had been shot in the head and heart, sometimes at close range – precise and unsurvivable wounds that undermined police claims that suspects were injured during chaotic exchanges of gunfire.

Oscar Albayalde, Metro Manila’s police chief, said he had never heard of officers taking dead suspects to hospital to cover up crime scenes. “We will have that investigated,” he told Reuters. If that investigation showed police were “intentionally moving these dead bodies and bringing them to the hospitals just to alter the evidence, then I think we have to make them explain.”

Duterte’s office declined to expand on Albayalde’s response to Reuters’ questions.

TROUBLED: Allan Franza, chief of Manila’s Old Balara district, where police fatally shot seven drug suspects last September. He said he felt uneasy when asked to take the corpses to hospital. REUTERS/Clare Baldwin

According to police reports about the incidents, suspects shot during operations were “immediately rushed” to hospital. “The most important (thing) is the life of the person,” said Randy Llanderal, a precinct commander in Quezon City. The police reports reviewed by Reuters showed Llanderal had led or joined operations in which 13 drug suspects ended up dead on arrival.

Llanderal said all suspects were shot in self-defense during legitimate operations.

The Manila police commander, a retired senior officer and some doctors believe there is a cover up. Hospitalizing drug suspects who have been shot allows police to project a more caring image, said the Manila commander. The retired officer agreed. “It is basically a ploy to make the public believe that the police are mindful of the safety and survival of suspects,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Manila commander said his officers were instructed to shoot at “sensitive areas.” Suspects who survived were shot again to finish them off or smothered with their own clothing, he said.

A Reuters examination of the Old Balara incident and similar operations also suggests that the purpose of hospital runs was to destroy evidence rather than save lives. Police manhandled gunshot victims and showed no urgency in getting them medical treatment, said three sets of family members and other witnesses.

Interactive graphic. Click here

“You obliterate the crime scene – the evidence.”

Rizaldy Rivera, an agent at the Philippines’ National Bureau of Investigation

Removing bodies makes it harder to work out what really happened. “You obliterate the crime scene – the evidence,” said Rizaldy Rivera, an agent at the Philippines’ National Bureau of Investigation who has investigated allegations of police brutality. Police forensic investigators at the scene, said Rivera, must carry out their work on what is effectively a “tampered crime scene.”

Scene of Crime Operatives, or SOCO units as police forensic teams are called, process crime scenes and conduct autopsies. Aurelio Trampe, the police general who oversees SOCO, said police officers haven’t been removing bodies to alter crime scenes. He said they have the discretion to disregard crime-scene investigative procedures “just as long as they could save lives.”

SOCO can still collect evidence from bodies once they reach the hospital, but doesn’t always do so. Instead, said SOCO forensic chief Reynaldo Calaoa, that task falls to a police investigator assigned to the case. That investigator often hails from the same station as the colleagues who killed the suspect.

SHOOTING: The house in Manila’s Old Balara district where police fatally shot seven drug suspects last September. Pictured in April, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew R.C. Marshall

“All of them were cold to the touch.”

Jerome Paez, a doctor at East Avenue Medical Center

Such practices can leave the system open to abuse, said Raquel Del Rosario Fortun, an independent forensic scientist and chair of the University of the Philippines Manila pathology department.

“They do the shooting, they do the killing – and they investigate themselves,” she said. “Impunity, that’s what’s happening.”

Old Balara is part of Quezon City, the largest of the 17 cities and municipalities that make up Metro Manila, and the most populous city in the Philippines.

Old Balara district chief Franza said police insisted his staff of volunteer security guards bring drug-war casualties from operations to the hospital – even when it was clear they were dead. Because he has assisted the police by transporting casualties, the victims’ families have accused him and his staff of complicity in the killings, he said.

In March, Franza decided he had had enough. Keep responding to police calls, he told his staff, but don’t take a body to hospital without the go-ahead from SOCO crime scene investigators. “I decided not to take action which I think is not proper,” said Franza.

The seven victims from Old Balara arrived at East Avenue Medical Center stacked in a flatbed truck and another vehicle, said Jerome Paez, an attending physician at the emergency room that night. Most had been shot in the head and many also had multiple gunshots in their chests, he said. None were breathing or had a pulse.

EMERGENCY ROOM: A drug suspect shot by police arrives at a public hospital in central Manila in June. He was declared dead on arrival. REUTERS/Dondi Tawatao

“All of them were cold to the touch,” said Paez, who has dealt with 21 drug suspects pronounced dead on arrival.

The victims had been refused admission earlier at Quezon City General Hospital’s emergency room, a 15-minute drive away, because they were already dead, said district chief Franza. The hospital told Reuters it had no record of receiving patients from Old Balara that night.

The Old Balara bodies were already in the morgue of East Avenue Medical Center by the time the mother of victim Elmer Gayoso arrived. She asked Reuters to withhold her name, saying she feared retribution from the police.

Gayoso had been shot through the head and the heart, she said, and the headshot had destroyed his face. She said her husband identified him by scouring his corpse for familiar childhood scars. The wounds were so grave that she didn’t believe that the police took Gayoso to the hospital to save his life.

“That was their pretense,” she said, weeping.

The killings also troubled Paez, the ER doctor. “We documented everything, just in case in the future it is needed for investigation,” he said.

Even if doctors at East Avenue Medical Center suspect a new arrival is dead, hospital protocol requires them to try to resuscitate the patient, said Paez. This is costly and wastes time at a big public hospital teeming with patients. In a recent visit by Reuters, old people wearing oxygen masks lay unmoving on gurneys. New patients arrived every few minutes.

Asked about the number of drug suspects arriving dead at hospital, the acting director of the East Avenue Medical Center, Victoria Abesamis, said: “I cannot categorically say that the police are bringing these dead bodies because they want to cover up. I think I will give them the benefit of the doubt.”


Lawrence Bello and three other doctors at East Avenue Medical Center interviewed by Reuters also expressed unease about handling dead-on-arrival cases from police operations.

Bello said the police would sometimes deliver bodies that were already displaying rigor mortis, which sets in several hours after death. East Avenue would get two or three such bodies per month, he said.

Bello has dealt with 20 cases where suspects were dead on arrival following a police operation, according to Quezon City Police District data. One of them, Bello said, had a single gunshot wound. The bullet had entered below the chin and exited through the top of the head. Bello said he found the injury “quite questionable.”

Such an injury is usually associated with victims of suicide or execution, said Homer Venters of Physicians for Human Rights, a group based in New York that investigates mass atrocities. “It is very hard for that to happen when a person isn’t fully compliant,” he said. Venters didn’t examine the body that Bello referred to.

Patel Mayuga, another ER doctor at East Avenue Medical Center, has pronounced 10 victims of police shootings dead on arrival, according to Quezon City Police District data. Suspects who are dead on arrival usually have “clean shots” in the forehead or chest, suggesting the killings were intentional, said Mayuga. “If they are shot in the chest or head, there was time for the attacker to prepare,” he said.

Many other drug suspects brought to hospitals in Quezon City by police were also shot in the head and heart, often from less than a meter away, four doctors told Reuters.

One January evening, police delivered five bodies in a small jeepney bus to the state-run Novaliches District Hospital in Quezon City. The floor of the jeepney bus was puddled with the victims’ blood and excrement, recalled Lawrence Laguno, the ER doctor on duty. According to police, the victims had all pulled guns and opened fire on undercover officers during an anti-drug operation. They missed, and the police returned fire.

IMPUNITY: Forensic pathologist Raquel Del Rosario Fortun told Reuters that crime scenes are open to abuse because the police “investigate themselves”. REUTERS/Dondi Tawatao

“All suspects were seriously injured,” said the police report. “Thereafter, wounded suspects were rushed to Novaliches District Hospital for medical treatment but pronounced dead on arrival by attending physician, Dr. Lawrence Laguno.”

Laguno told Reuters that all five men had been shot in the head and chest, with almost the same entry and exit wounds – injuries that looked to him both deliberate and impossible to survive. “It’s unusual to have the same five patients with almost the same injuries,” said the doctor. “It was a trained shooter. They knew what they were doing.”

Venters of Physicians for Human Rights said it is “incredibly rare” to sustain a tight grouping of gunshot wounds in a shootout. Venters, a medical doctor, has overseen research and investigations into extrajudicial killings. When bullets enter a body from the same direction and plane, it shows the target wasn’t moving, he said. “Either they were surprised and shot, or they were subdued and shot.”

Willie Saludares, acting chairman of the emergency room at East Avenue Medical Center, said doctors didn’t follow up on questionable cases, since how patients were killed wasn’t their concern. “I’m sorry to sound too cold, but that’s the way it is,” he said. “I am only concerned about the health of the patient. I’m not doing investigative work.”

Nor, it seemed, were others. Saludares said that state agencies that investigate police killings, such as the Commission on Human Rights or the National Bureau of Investigation, didn’t come to interview him. Saludares also said he was uncomfortable speaking freely and feared losing his job.

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

Chito Gascon, chairman of the Commission on Human Rights, said that if specific cases were brought to the agency’s attention, its investigators should pursue them and secure testimony from doctors. But the Commission was stretched, he added. “The CHR, given its current capacity constraints, is only able to investigate and document a fraction of all the deaths that have been reported by the media,” he said.

The National Bureau of Investigation didn’t comment.


Police say they don’t shoot to kill and that saving lives is paramount. But 17 witnesses interviewed by Reuters say their behavior at crime scenes suggests the opposite.

In September, in a district called Nagkaisang Nayon, precinct commander Llanderal led an operation that added six dead-on-arrival cases to the Quezon City body count. According to a police report, the suspects – five men and a woman – opened fire on undercover officers posing as drug buyers. They missed, and the officers returned fire.

“When the smoke cleared,” said the report, “all suspects sustained gunshot wounds on their body. Immediately thereafter, all suspects were rushed to Novaliches District Hospital for medical treatment but (were) pronounced dead on arrival.” None of the officers were injured.

Llanderal acknowledged that removing the bodies disturbed the crime scene, but insisted the suspects were alive. “They were still moving. All of them!” he said.

Bereaved relatives and other witnesses told Reuters the bodies were taken to hospital an hour or more after the shooting, and that none of the victims showed signs of life. “They weren’t moving. They weren’t breathing,” said Feliciano Dela Cruz, the local district chief.

“It’s not possible they were alive,” said Jocelyn Ceron, 47, whose husband, Ronaldo, was among the dead. “We saw them thrown in the back of a truck.”

Ceron said Ronaldo’s body had six bullet wounds: three in the chest or torso, one in the leg, and one in each hand. Relatives said the other bodies each bore at least six gunshot wounds. Ceron showed Reuters photos of the crime scene.

Llanderal confirmed that the photos were taken by police investigators and showed the immediate aftermath of his operation. One photo shows a woman lying face down in a blood-smeared alleyway. Others show a tiny room in which five men lie slumped in pools of blood or on the floor; two guns are clearly visible.

Reuters shared the crime scene photos with Fortun, the independent forensic scientist. “Based on the pictures, they are apparently very dead,” Fortun said of the six victims.

For so many bodies to be crammed into a tiny room “doesn’t seem consistent” with police claims that the suspects were shot while fleeing during a gun battle, she added.

Relatives of Ronaldo Ceron believe the police executed him and others in cold blood. A neighbour called Maricol Amacna said she heard one of the men begging, “Don’t kill me, sir!” The Commission on Human Rights says it is investigating the killings.

The police have dismissed allegations of wrongdoing as “useless and baseless,” and have issued commendations to Llanderal and his men for “the extraordinary courage you have displayed in the successful operation . . . which resulted in the neutralization” of the suspects.

Llanderal denied executing drug suspects. “In police operations, we don’t know where the bullets may hit,” he said. “Some suspects retaliate, fight us. We are only defending ourselves.”

LINE OF DUTY: Police line up for a flag-raising ceremony outside a station in Quezon City Police District in Manila in April. REUTERS/Andrew R.C. Marshall

Additional reporting by Manuel Mogato and Chin Samson


Dead on Arrival

By Clare Baldwin and Andrew R.C. Marshall

Photo editing: Thomas White

Graphics: Simon Scarr and Jin Wu

Design: Catherine Tai

Video: Graham Mackay

Edited by Janet McBride and Peter Hirschberg


The Philippines’ police chief on Friday stood by anti-narcotics officers and rejected a Reuters investigation that pointed to a pattern of police sending corpses of drug suspects to hospitals to destroy crime scene evidence and hide executions.

President Rodrigo Duterte took office in the Philippines a year ago, launching a bloody war on drugs that has killed thousands of Filipinos.


Philippine police use hospitals to hide drug war killings

Podcast: Dead on arrival in Duterte’s drug war

In a television interview to mark the anniversary, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa appeared irritated by questions about the Reuters report, published on Thursday, and said police carrying out anti-drugs operations had a duty to save lives, even when encountering violent resistance.

He said police were not medically qualified to determine whether a victim was dead or alive and sent victims to hospital as part of operational procedure.

“What do you want, we let the wounded die? You don’t want us to rescue his life?” he told news channel ANC.

The Reuters investigation analyzed crime data from two of Metro Manila’s five police districts and included accounts of doctors, witnesses, law enforcement officials and victims’ families. [nL8N1JQ2NQ]

It showed a pattern of police sending dead bodies to hospitals, preventing thorough crime scene investigations from taking place after the killing of drug suspects. [nL8N1JQ2NQ]

Dela Rosa said Reuters, which has produced a series of in-depth reports into the war on drugs that have questioned official accounts, was “looking for faults” in the police.

“PNP is damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Reuters really is looking for faults in us. We have to stand by our police operational procedure that in case of an encounter, if a person is not yet declared dead by the physician, you need to bring him to the hospital.”

He added: “Who are the policemen to say they are dead? They are not medical practitioners. If we did not bring them to the hospitals, the relatives might sue us.”

A spokeswoman for Reuters said the news agency stood by its reporting.

Duterte’s bloody campaign has been condemned by human rights groups and alarmed Western countries due to the high death toll and allegations of systematic extrajudicial killings and cover-ups by police. The PNP rejects those allegations.


Reuters looked at police reports covering the first eight months of the drug war, which showed that in Quezon City Police District and neighboring Manila Police District, 301 victims were sent to hospital after police anti-drug operations. Only two survived and the rest were dead on arrival.

In nearly all cases where drug suspects have died during police operations in the year-long crackdown, the official accounts say police fired in self defense. Police say they do not shoot to kill.

Activists, however, say the circumstances behind many of the killings in police sting operations point to executions. A Reuters investigation last year found that when police opened fire in anti-drug operations, they killed 97 percent of people they shot.

The data analyzed in the latest Reuters investigation shows a sharp increase in the number of drug suspects declared dead on arrival in the Quezon City and Manila districts each month.

There were 10 cases when the drug war started a year ago in July 2016, or 13 percent of police drug shooting deaths. By January 2017, the tally rose to 51 cases, or 85 percent, at a time when criticism of Duterte’s campaign intensified.

A police commander who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity said the increase was no coincidence and police were

trying to prevent crime scene investigations and media attention that might show they were executing suspects.

Human rights groups say the anti-drugs crackdown, the signature policy of the populist Duterte, has been disastrous and has almost entirely targeted the poor, with most of those killed or arrested drug users and small-time dealers, with narcotics kingpins largely untouched.

Dela Rosa said police should not be disparaged for trying to save victims and the removal of bodies from a crime scene did not mean a proper investigation could not be carried out.

“Do not put malice in what the police does,” he said. “The crime scene is there even without the dead body.”

(Reporting by Martin Petty and Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Alex Richardson)


Bato: Hospitals not being used for police coverup

A report from Reuters said many of the drug offenders who ended up in hospitals could have been dead even before they were brought there, possibly part of an attempt by police to cover up the killings. File

MANILA, Philippines –  Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa defended anti-narcotics operatives in Metro Manila from allegations that they use hospitals to cover up summary executions of suspected drug pushers.

A report from Reuters said many of the drug offenders who ended up in hospitals could have been dead even before they were brought there, possibly part of an attempt by police to cover up the killings.

An irate Dela Rosa hit back at Reuters in a televised interview over ANC on Friday, saying the news agency is bent on looking for flaws in their anti-drug operations.

“What does Reuters want? We just leave a person who has been shot to die?” Dela Rosa remarked.

“The PNP is damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Reuters is really looking for faults,” he said.

Interior and Local Government officer-in-charge Catalino Cuy ordered an investigation into the allegations.

Malacañang deferred to Dela Rosa to answer the allegations.

President Rodrigo Duterte

“The PNP has already answered this matter and we defer to their response,” said presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.

Abella refused to answer further queries on whether President Duterte will continue to protect policemen who have resorted to cutting corners to attain the Chief Executive’s order to go after drug offenders.

“We will not make any comments regarding that matter. We will defer to the answer of General Bato (Dela Rosa),” he added.

A total of 3,200 people have been killed in anti-drug operations from July 1, 2016 to June 13, 2017, the government said.

A total of 49 drug suspects were killed in the past week after they allegedly put up a fight with the police.

Some 47 lawmen have been killed and 132 others were wounded in anti-drug operations since last year.

“We will live and die with our war on drugs,” he said.

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

Dela Rosa vowed the campaign will be relentless until the last drug lord and pusher are arrested.

“We will finish it up to the last infrastructure of their shabu network business,” Dela Rosa said.

Debunking claims the police were orchestrating a cover up, Dela Rosa said it is part of their police procedures to save lives of criminals who engage policemen in a shootout.

Dela Rosa expressed frustration that police operatives are being portrayed negatively for doing their job.

“If we do not bring the suspect to the hospital, there is intention to kill, that’s why we left him to die. If we bring him to the hospital, we’ll be accused of covering up. Where do we go now?” he asked.

Reuters said 97 percent of the 301 drug suspects taken to hospitals in Quezon City and Manila were declared dead on arrival.

Dela Rosa retorted: “Who are you to say a person is dead? Are you a doctor? Only a doctor should declare (that a person is dead).”

He explained investigators can still process scenes even if the body was already taken out.

“Don’t put malice in the actions of the police because the crime scene is still there even if the body is gone,” Dela Rosa said.

He maintained they would never tolerate policemen who  commit abuses in the government’s war on drugs.

He added the campaign of purging the police ranks of scalawags continues as he revealed he is about to sign dismissal orders of 84 police officers whose administrative cases have been resolved.

“In less than one year, I was able to dismiss around 160 personnel. There are even more coming,” Dela Rosa said.

–  With Christina Mendez


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

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

Philippine Drug War is 1 Year Old — But Nobody Is Celebrating As people Continue To Die — The people know there is no justice in the Philippines

June 29, 2017


© AFP | Relatives grieve during the burial of an alleged drug dealer killed by unidentified gunman in Manila

MANILA (AFP) – Meth addict Reyjin is still able to score on the frontlines of the Philippines’ drug war, living proof that a year of fear has failed to kill the illegal narcotics trade as promised.President Rodrigo Duterte swept to an election victory last year largely on a pledge to wipe out his nation’s illegal drugs trade within three to six months, saying he would do so by killing thousands of people.

Duterte fulfilled his vow on the death toll, drawing condemnation from rights groups who warned he may be orchestrating a crime against humanity as police and unknown assassins filled slums with bullet-ridden corpses.

President Rodrigo Duterte

But, as the president marks a year in office on Friday, the drug trade continues and hopes of a quick end to the war have long faded.

“I can buy anytime I want, except when the police patrols are out at night,” Reyjin, a father-of-three, said as he recounted to AFP how he had maintained his addiction to the crystal methamphetamine known locally as “shabu”.

Reyjin, a high school dropout and part-time construction worker, said the meth supply tightened in the first three months of the crackdown and the price doubled to 200 pesos (about $4) a pop.

But meth flooded back in around October, although the quality went down, according to Reyjin, who asked his real name not be used for security reasons.

“Now it’s diluted, and getting a hit takes more effort,” he said.

Still, the price of the lower-quality shabu has remained steady since October at 150 pesos, according to Reyjin.

He said hooded gunmen had shot dead a drug dealer near his house over the past year, while the bodies of two other alleged users were found in his community.

But Reyjin said this had not stopped others from getting into drugs, singling out several 15-year-olds who picked up bottles for recycling for a living.

Reyjin said many of his friends had been on lists of drug suspects drawn up by local officials and submitted to the police. He said he was not yet on the lists, though admitted his jobless wife was petrified.

“She fears I will get myself killed, so she forbids me from going out at night,” he said.

– ‘Unprecedented accomplishments’ –

Critics of Duterte’s crackdown have claimed that, besides thousands of people being murdered and the rule of law breaking down, such a drug war is unwinnable.

“We could not win the war on drugs through killing petty criminals and addicts,” former Colombian president Cesar Gaviria wrote in an opinion piece for the New York Times.

“I hope Mr Duterte does not fall into the same trap.”

Duterte, who has typically countered critics of his drug war with abusive tirades, responded to Gaviria’s advice by describing him as “that idiot”.

Police have killed 3,116 drug suspects in the crackdown, according to official figures.

Another 2,098 people have been killed by unknown assailants in drug-related crimes, while there have been 8,200 more murders with no known motive, according to the police.

While Duterte has insisted that his police officers are killing drug suspects only in self defence, he has also conceded the force is “corrupt to the core”.

He made the admission in January after it was revealed police in an anti-drug unit kidnapped a South Korean businessman to extract a ransom from his wife, then murdered him.

Still, Duterte and his aides insist they are winning the drug war, albeit not as quickly as promised.

The drug trade nationwide has shrunk by roughly one quarter over the past year, causing crime rates to drop by more than 28 percent, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

More than 82,000 suspected dealers have been arrested while 1.3 million users have reported themselves to authorities, the agency said.

“Due to the intensified anti-drug campaign, unprecedented accomplishments (on) all fronts have been recorded,” the agency’s director-general, Isidro Lapena, said this month.

Duterte’s crackdown has also proved popular, with surveys consistently showing an overwhelming majority of Filipinos support the president and his tactics.

Buoyed by popular support, Duterte continued throughout his first year to make inflammatory comments that rights groups said could be seen as incitement to murder, such as saying he would be “happy to slaughter” three million addicts.

He also extended his election campaign timeframe, vowing to continue the crackdown until the last day of his six-year term.

Like many other relatives of people killed, Maria Lusabia — whose 44-year-old son was murdered by unknown assailants in a Manila slum after reporting himself as a user to authorities — knows she will find no justice.

“No one wants to tell us who killed him,” Lusabia told AFP this week.


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

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