Posts Tagged ‘Philippine National Police’

Philippines: War On Drugs Data Shoiws Trends Of Police, Drug Users Which May Interest International Criminal Court

February 13, 2018
 / 05:12 PM February 13, 2018
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The body of drug suspect Jayson Reuyan lies on BAC-11 Street near the Parañaque River in Pasay City after he was killed in a police buy-bust operation on Jan. 13, 2017. (Photo by RICHARD A. REYES/Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano on Tuesday shared some intriguing patterns in “Oplan Tokhang,” which is part of the anti-drug operations of the Philippine National Police (PNP), after his office obtained spot reports of raids from July 2016 to September 2017.

Alejano presented in a press conference a graphical analysis of 1,005 spot reports involving 1,671 suspected drug personalities killed in anti-drug operations from the said period.

He said, however, that the analysis of the consolidated data might not be conclusive as this only constituted a small percentage of the total number of operations up to present.

Data from the interagency organization Real Numbers PH showed that from July 1, 2016 until Jan. 17, 2018, the police conducted 81,919 drug operations with 2,235 cases of homicide recorded.

“But we could draw some patterns,” Alejano, a former Marine captain, said.

Highest kills recorded in Duterte’s first months

Alejano’s office observed that the highest number of drug killings happened during the first two months of President Rodrigo Duterte term. Most of these happened in the Calabarzon region, Central Luzon, and Metro Manila.

However, they noted a declining trend in the conduct of drug operations towards September 2017.

“Noong simula nung pagkaupo ni Duterte, napakataas. But we can observe that the frequency declined after initial month of implementation of Tokhang,” Alejano said.

“The decline might have been because of the decline in Duterte’s trust rating, the public’s concern and reaction to the police’s conduct of operation, and public pressure,” he said.

Drug raids happened mostly at dawn

As to the time of operation, the incidents, on an average, happened from midnight until 6 a.m.

Alejano said this could be because nighttime operations would provide concealment to cops targeting drug suspects.

“Or maybe the PNP purposely conducted the operations during these conspicuous hours to conceal their unlawful activities, to prevent people from becoming witnesses,” he said.

Most Tokhang victims used .38-caliber revolvers

Alejano raised the possibility that cops might be using the same gun, a .38-caliber revolver, to plant as evidence in the drug war killings.

Based on the data, the weapons confiscated during drug operations were mostly .38-caliber revolvers with defaced serial numbers.

“This weapon is cheaper, more accessible to individuals, mas marami sa market,” Alejano said. “However, it’s important to note that as per spot reports, most weapons seized had unspecified or defaced serial numbers.”

“Importante ito na na-deface kasi pwede mo ulit-ulitin na pang tanim,” he explained.

One to six ‘shabu’ sachets

“What is more intriguing is that most of the cases that lead to death involves cases with one to six sachets of shabu only,” Alejano said.

Of the 1,671 killed, his analysis showed that at least 50 percent of them had only one to six sachets of shabu in their possession.

Public health issue

Like many critics of Duterte’s drug war, Alejano said the administration should see the proliferation of drugs in the country as a public health issue, thus prioritizing rehabilitation of drug users.

The opposition lawmaker reiterated that less than 10 percent of the population of drug users were addicts or heavy users.

“Bakit kina-catergorize mo sila na parang zombie na walang utak and they have to be killed?” Alejano said, referring to Duterte’s earlier statement saying that drug users were like zombies who have shrunken brains.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague is set to start its preliminary examination on the government’s drug war.

Alejano and fellow Magdalo lawmaker Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV filed a supplemental complaint against Duterte for crimes against humanity in relation to his deadly drug war. /atm

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/968496/oplan-tokhang-gary-alejano-war-on-drugs#ixzz571DXvjPb
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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
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Alexis Romero (philstar.com) – February 13, 2018 – 4:40pm

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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.
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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.

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“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.
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“She (Bensouda) will find out that she’s doing it wrong,” he added.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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The president reiterated that he would not stop his controversial war on illegal drugs until he steps down from the presidency.
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“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.
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“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.
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Duterte said he is ready to face the consequences of his actions, which he claimed, were intended to preserve the country and its youth,
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“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.
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RELATED VIDEO:

ANTI-DRUG WARINTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT (ICC)

https://beta.philstar.com/headlines/2018/02/13/1787471/probe-begins-duterte-says-he-wants-grill-icc-prosecutor

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

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

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

Philippine Commission on Human Rights Ready To Assist International Court With examination on Philippine Government’s War on Drugs

February 11, 2018

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

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is ready to assist the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the conduct of the preliminary Commission on Human Rights.

“We are, of course, always ready, willing and able to assist the ICC should we be requested to do so,” CHR chair Jose Luis Gascon told The STAR in a text message over the weekend.

“As a party to the Rome Statute, the entire government, particularly the law enforcement and justice institutions, is under an obligation to assist the ICC in all ways possible,” he added, referring to the 1998 treaty that established the ICC.

Gascon, however, said they have yet to receive any communication from ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, who has announced that she would examine the Duterte administration’s war against illegal drugs amid allegations of extrajudicial killings.

In this picture taken on July 8, 2016, police officers investigate the dead body of an alleged drug dealer, his face covered with packing tape and a placard reading “I’m a pusher”, on a street. — AFP

The CHR chief urged the government to cooperate in the examination.

“In particular, we hope the authorities of our police and justice department will provide all relevant information for the successful conduct by the ICC of its preliminary examination,” he said.

The CHR has repeatedly criticized the government for its failure to file cases against police officers involved in nanlaban incidents where suspects were killed supposedly after fighting back during police operations.

Thousands have died in such incidents, based on data released by the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Human rights groups are also questioning the thousands of other deaths believed to be committed as a response to the government’s war against illegal drugs.

The PNP has yet to release to the CHR the case folders involving the killings.

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Philippine National Polic Chief dela Rosa and President Duterte

Callamard welcomes ICC move

Meanwhile, United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Agnes Callamard welcomed the decision of Bensouda to conduct a preliminary examination.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Callamard – a known critic of the Philippines’ war on drugs – maintained that the country has failed to fully investigate the thousands of deaths during the present administration.

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

“As I have warned repeatedly, a major human rights crisis has been unfolding in the Philippines, characterized, among other things, by a vast number of allegations of extrajudicial executions and a failure on the part of the state to undertake prompt, independent, impartial investigations,” she was quoted as saying.

Callamard previously drew the ire of President Duterte following her statements expressing concern over the killings.

The government has set conditions for her to conduct a visit, including a public debate with Duterte and swearing under oath.

The rapporteur refused, saying these are against the terms and conditions governing independent experts of the UN.

Information-examining process

In line with the Rome Statute’s requirements, Bensouda said her office will engage with relevant national authorities to discuss and assess any pertinent investigations and prosecutions.

“In the independent and impartial exercise of its mandate, my office will also give consideration to all submissions and views conveyed to it during the course of each preliminary examination,” Bensouda said, noting that a preliminary examination is not subject to statutory timelines and that it is an information-examining process to determine whether there is reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation pursuant to Rome Statute criteria.

“Specifically, under article 53(1) of the Rome Statute, I, as Prosecutor, must consider issues of jurisdiction, admissibility and the interests of justice in making this determination,” she explained.

Bensouda announced on Thursday that she would open preliminary examinations into the Philippines’ war on drugs campaign and, separately, analyze alleged crimes committed by Venezuela related to the demonstrations and ongoing political unrest there.

‘180-degree turn’

Meanwhile opposition Rep. Edcel Lagman of Albay observed that presidential spokesman Harry Roque was the type of individual who “easily crumbles under the weight of an official title and jettison without qualms their principles for partisan subservience and convenience.”

Image result for Harry Roque, photos

Harry Roque (L) and President Duterte

In a statement, Lagman said that Roque now “sings a completely different refrain, a 180-degree turnaround” compared with his previous active stance against extrajudicial killings under Duterte when the spokesman was still Kabayan congressman.

“Before his anointment as the leading apologist of Duterte as presidential spokesman, Roque was critical of Duterte’s deadly war on drugs,” Lagman recalled, noting that Roque even warned Duterte that the ICC “may enforce its jurisdiction over him for alleged crimes against humanity.”

Lagman said that Roque, a former University of the Philippines law professor and also a human rights activist, was among those who campaigned for the ratification by the Philippines of the Rome Statute.

The Rome Statute was signed in February 2011 by former president Benigno Aquino III and the Senate gave its concurrence in August 2011. – With Pia Lee-Brago, Delon Porcalla

Related video:

Read more at https://beta.philstar.com/headlines/2018/02/12/1787047/chr-ready-assist-icc-rody-probe#hFcqIKPZ5Isjh4VG.99

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. Philstar.com/File 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

Read more at https://beta.philstar.com/headlines/2018/02/09/1785975/international-court-sets-review-dutertes-drug-war#v4yBlQpbPLLwkbDq.99

Philippines says Hague court weighs complaint against Duterte over drug war deaths — “Duterte is complicit in the illegal deaths of thousands of Filipinos.”

February 8, 2018

MANILA (Reuters) – The International Criminal Court (ICC) has told the Philippines that it has begun a preliminary examination of a complaint accusing President Rodrigo Duterte of crimes against humanity, his spokesman said on Thursday.

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FILE PHOTO – Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte with his director and Chief of the Philippine National Police Ronald dela Rosa | REUTERS

The complaint, which says Duterte is complicit in the illegal deaths of thousands of Filipinos during his war on drugs, was “a waste of the court’s time and resources” and the examination would be the end of the process, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.

About 4,000 mostly urban poor Filipinos have been killed by police in the past 19 months in a brutal crackdown that has alarmed the international community. Activists believe the death toll is far higher.

Roque said he had discussed the ICC issue for two hours the previous night with Duterte, a former prosecutor, adding that the president more than willing to face trial.

“He’s sick and tried of being accused,” said Roque, an international law expert.

“He wants to be in court and put the prosecutor on the stand.”

The website of the ICC, which sits in the Hague in the Netherlands, carried no new information concerning the complaint against Duterte. The court’s office could not immediately be reached for comment.

Since it was set up in 2002, the ICC has received more than 12,000 such complaints or communications, just nine of which have gone to trial.

PREPARED TO GO TO PRISON

Duterte has dared it to bring him to trial and said he would rot in jail to save Filipinos from crime and drugs.

His tirades against the court are notorious, and include calling it “bullshit”, “hypocritical” and “useless”, stemming from one of its prosecutors saying there could be grounds for an investigation into his bloody crackdown.

He also threatened to cancel the Philippines’ ICC membership and said European lawyers were “rotten”, “stupid”, and had a “brain like a pea”.

Police say those thousands of killings were during legitimate anti-drugs operations in which the suspects had violently resisted arrest. Duterte has boasted about killing thousands of drug dealers and has told police they can kill if they believe their lives are in danger.

But his critics accuse him of incitement to murder and of refusing to properly investigate allegations that police are planting evidence, fabricating reports and executing users and dealers.

Duterte rejects such accusations and typically chides the international community for listening to what his government says are biased human rights groups that have no proof.

A Philippine lawyer filed the initial ICC complaint against Duterte and at least 11 senior officials last April, saying crimes against humanity were committed “repeatedly, unchangingly and continuously” and killing drug suspects and other criminals had become “best practice”.

Senator Antonio Trillanes and Congressman Gary Alejano sent a supplementary communication several months later urging an ICC investigation, which included a list of public statements made by Duterte that they said amounted to ‘shoot-to-kill’ orders.

Trillanes said the examination “should jolt Duterte into realizing that he is not above the law”.

Roque called the complainants “domestic enemies of the state” and said the ICC had no jurisdiction.

Pending court cases meant domestic legal processes had yet to be exhausted, and the anti-drugs campaign was a sovereign issue, he said.

Additional reporting by Enrico dela Cruz; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Clarence Fernandez

Philippines orders arrest of three policemen in drug war’s first murder case

February 7, 2018

Reuters

MANILA (Reuters) – A court in the Philippines ordered the arrest on Wednesday of three policemen for the high-profile August 2017 killing of a teenager, the first murder case in a brutal war on drugs that has killed thousands of Filipinos.

The Caloocan City regional trial court in Manila issued an arrest order following the recent filing of murder charges by state prosecutors over the death of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos, a student described in a police report after his death as a drug courier.

“We will comply with the arrest order,” said John Bulalacao, national police spokesman, adding the three policemen once arrested would be transferred to a jail.

 
Family members at the casket of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos

They are currently on restricted duty having been reassigned to the regional headquarters south of Manila in the wake of the teenager’s murder. His death caused outrage over a bloody drugs crackdown that is largely supported by Filipinos, but condemned by the international community.

The three policemen were also charged with planting drugs and a handgun on delos Santos, who according to police experts, was shot dead while on his knees in a dark alley. His family and friends insist he had no involvement in drugs.

As in nearly 4,000 killings of drug suspects by police as part of the 19-month-old crackdown, the official report said delos Santos was killed because he violently resisted arrest, endangering officers’ lives.

But human rights groups and activists dismiss that as implausible and accuse police of systematic executions and cover-ups that President Rodrigo Duterte not only refuses to investigate, but tacitly supports.

Duterte and the police have repeatedly rejected that and say there is no evidence to support such allegations.

Delos Santos’ death sparked a big protest and led to Duterte briefly suspending police operations in October.

Two months later, however, he ordered police to resume raids and sting operations. Some 46 deaths have been reported in a two-month period ending Feb. 5, based on official reports.

Duterte has frequently praised police who kill drug dealers and promised to pardon any officers who are jailed. However, he has lambasted the men accused of killing the teenager and promised his family justice.

Murder Charges in Philippine Police Case That Ignited Anger Over Drug War

January 29, 2018

By FELIPE VILLAMOR
The New York Times

January 29, 2018

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The funeral of Kian Loyd delos Santos in Manila in August. His death ignited public anger at President Rodrigo Duterte’s antidrug campaign. Credit Francis R. Malasig/European Pressphoto Agency
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MANILA — The Philippine Justice Department filed murder charges on Monday against three police officers in the death of a 17-year-old boy last year, a case that strengthened opposition to President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal war on drugs.

The officers — Arnel Oares, Jeremias Pereda and Jerwin Cruz — were charged in a lower court in Caloocan City, north of Manila, along with an informant who had erroneously identified the boy, Kian Loyd delos Santos, as a drug pusher.

Witnesses had described seeing Mr. delos Santos being dragged away by the officers and finding his body slumped over near a pigsty. That contradicted statements by the police officers, who said the boy had pulled a gun, setting off a shootout in which he died.

The teenager’s death in August ignited public anger and his funeral procession became a protest led by the influential Catholic Church and activists who denounced Mr. Duterte’s drug crackdown.

About 4,000 people accused of being drug pushers and addicts have died since Mr. Duterte took office in 2016, according to police statistics. Philippine rights groups and Human Rights Watch, however, say the number is much higher — about 12,000 people.

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From left, Arnel Oares, Jerwin Cruz and Jeremias Pereda were charged in the killing of Mr. delos Santos. Credit Noel Celis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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Because of the anger and protests that arose from Mr. delos Santos’s killing, Mr. Duterte removed the police as the lead agency in the crackdown and installed a civilian-led drug enforcement office.

That move turned out to be temporary. In December, Mr. Duterte reinstated the police to lead the drug war.

In filing the charges on Monday, the Justice Department cited witnesses who said they had seen Mr. delos Santos dragged away and shot at close range.

The department said forensic evidence showed, in “an indisputable conclusion,” that Mr. delos Santos gad been shot while in a “somewhat kneeling” or “fetal” position.

The department added that the testimonies showed that “there was no unlawful aggression on the part of Kian during the time he was shot and killed.” It also cast doubt on the officers’ assertion that the killing occurred in the course of a legitimate drug operation.

Thirteen other officers who took part in the drug sweep in Mr. delos Santos’s neighborhood were cleared. The Justice Department said that the commander of the local police force could not be charged because there was no evidence that he had given an order to kill Mr. delos Santos.

NYT:https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/29/world/asia/philippines-drug-crackdown-kian-loyd-delos-santos.html

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Philippine National Police Director General
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Officers charged in Philippine teen’s drug war ‘murder’

AFP

© AFP/File | Classmates of Kian delos Santos light candles at his wake in August 2017

MANILA (AFP) – Three Philippine police officers and an informer were charged Monday with murdering a teenager in a case which highlighted alleged extrajudicial killings during President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drugs war.Authorities say they have killed 3,987 suspects in “self-defence” in anti-drug operations since Duterte came to power in mid-2016.

An unspecified number of people had also been killed by unknown suspects in 2,235 “drug-related incidents”.

Kian delos Santos, 17, was shot dead during a night-time anti-drug sweep by Manila police last year.

Police had alleged the boy was a drug dealer who fired at them while resisting arrest. But investigators concluded he did not fire a gun and CCTV footage showed him being dragged near his home by two of the accused officers.

The charge sheet against the four said the killing showed premeditation.

“The obvious fact that some of the respondents were seen wearing masks and caps, indicates that they intended to hide their identity and utilise the darkness to carry out their plan.”

The four defendants were also charged with planting a firearm on the victim, while two of the officers were additionally charged with making an illegal search of the victim’s home.

However the justice department investigators decided against filing charges of torture against the four.

It also dismissed murder, torture and illegal search complaints against 13 other Manila police officers who were part of the August 16, 2017 operation, both for lack of sufficient evidence.

Filipinos have mostly backed Duterte’s drug war even as critics warned the killing of thousands may amount to a crime against humanity.

But the death of Delos Santos, as well as of two other Manila teenagers accused of robbing a taxi driver last year, have triggered rare street protests and highlighted concerns about police abuse.

It led to Duterte briefly suspending police participation in the drug crackdown for a second time.

The first occasion was in January last year after narcotics police officers were arrested for the kidnapping and murder of a South Korean businessman in 2016.

However in both instances the police were reinstated in the campaign without major reforms.

Philippine Police Rev Up President Duterte’s “War on Drugs” Again — Without Ever Answering Allegations of Murder, Kidnapping and Other Crimes

January 24, 2018
EDITORIAL
The ‘true spirit’ of ‘tokhang’
 / 05:10 AM January 24, 2018
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Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa

A year and a half after it was first launched, the Duterte administration’s defining policy will be reintroduced. The antidrugs campaign known as “Oplan Tokhang” will be “bloodless,” President Duterte’s favorite policeman pledged.

“The spirit of ‘tokhang,’ if implemented properly, is bloodless. That’s why it’s called knock and plead,” Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa told reporters.

Tokhang is a made-up word, formed by joining common Visayan terms together: “toktok” or knock, “hangyo” or request or plead. But today, a year and a half after it was first launched, on the day the President took his oath of office, tokhang has become a familiar word with a familiar, unmistakable meaning: It means “killed.”

When ordinary people say, “Na-tokhang ang tren,” referring to the awful light rail system spread across Metro Manila like an ugly scar, they are referring to yet another train stalled in the tracks, and they mean, “The train has been killed” or “The train is dead.” When ordinary people say, “Na-tokhang ang baterya,” referring to a cell phone battery that has been drained, they mean “The battery has been killed,” or “The battery is dead.”

The reason this is now the widely used and widely accepted meaning is the sheer scale of violence of President Duterte’s so-called war on drugs.

Thousands of people have been killed in the antidrugs campaign, most of them poor. The total number is undetermined; it may not in fact be possible to determine the total any longer, with the PNP itself changing its definitions in the course of the campaign; the statistics themselves are the subject of additional controversy. But very few people will dispute that thousands have been killed, in an exhausting war of attrition.

Oplan Tokhang has been suspended twice.

The first time was about a year ago, when the President ordered the unit in charge of the campaign disbanded because of the killing of Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo. The murder of the kidnapping victim — inside Camp Crame itself, the PNP headquarters — took place in October the previous year, but became public knowledge only after the victim’s wife, not yet knowing she was already a widow, spoke to the Inquirer. She merely wanted to spread the word about her husband’s kidnapping.

The second time came after the President assigned the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency the lead role in the antidrugs campaign, after the controversy over unexplained killings hounded the PNP. All drug enforcement units in the PNP were ordered dissolved.

But this month, the PNP is back on the tokhang route. Dela Rosa promised that the police would now be on their best behavior. “We will make sure and continue to make sure that police will do the true tokhang, not one that is vulnerable to police whims.”

“Police whims” is a strange explanation for the violent conduct of the first stages of Oplan Tokhang. Dela Rosa himself testified in the Senate that thousands of drug personalities had been killed in police operations (Kipo), while thousands more were killed in mysterious or unknown circumstances (the label the police use is DUI, for deaths under investigation).

He justified police action that led to the Kipo as done under threat, because the suspects fought back. (“Nanlaban,” the Filipino term for that, which the police themselves use in describing the reported encounters, has also become an all-too-familiar word.)

So if the suspects fought back, in the majority of Kipo cases, what police whims is he talking about?

The case of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos, who was recorded on camera being dragged by plainclothes policemen to what turned out to be his place of execution, shook the country because it offered incontrovertible proof of police cruelty.

And yet the police have defended the actions of their men who grabbed Kian, even describing the young student as a drug runner. Is this determined circling of the wagons a police whim?

The truth is: The PNP has not come clean about its dirty policies and its dirty cops. No less than the President thundered that as much as 40 percent of the police was corrupt, or in the control of drug lords and operators.

What has the PNP done since the President said that a year ago to bring these corrupt cops to justice, to root out the causes that lead to corruption within, to discipline the rest of the force?

Unless this rot is cured, the “true spirit” of tokhang may grow strong again, but the “flesh” of the PNP will remain weak.

Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/110514/true-spirit-tokhang#ixzz558VrY1Yu
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

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The grandmother of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos, Violeta, cries beside his casket yesterday in Caloocan City. Relatives and concerned neighbors of the teenager slain by police are calling for justice. MICHAEL VARCAS
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One of the fatalities, who has yet to be identified, was killed in an alleged shootout with police officers in Guiguinto, Bulacan on June 16. AP/Aaron Favila, file
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Jee Ick-joo, a South Korean businessman in the Philippines, was abducted by police from his home in October. It took his wife, Choi Kyung-jin, three months to learn his fate. Video: Eva Tam; photo: Jes Aznar for The Wall Street Journal
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Philippine police to wear body cameras in war on drugs

January 24, 2018

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Philippine National Police chief General Ronald Dela Rosa whispers to President Rodrigo Duterte during the announcement of the disbandment of police operations against illegal drugs at the Malacanang palace in Manila, Philippines on Jan 29, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

MANILA (REUTERS) – Philippine police will soon have to wear body cameras during anti-narcotics operations and visit suspects’ homes only in the daytime, in an effort to erase doubts about the conduct of those on the front lines of a bloody war on drugs.

Police chief Ronald dela Rosa said police would wear body cameras to record arrests, under a Jan 19 memorandum made public on Wednesday that takes effect once the devices are procured.

The police are making a comeback in President Rodrigo Duterte’s ferocious anti-narcotics campaign, a few months after he suspended them amid unprecedented scrutiny of their conduct.

“Once they are available, we will require them to wear that,” Dela Rosa said of the cameras.

“We would have a policy where there will be no anti-drug operations without body-worn cameras,” he told reporters.

He did not specify a date by which the cameras are expected to be made available to police, however.

Police data shows nearly 4,000 drug suspects were killed since Duterte came to power and launched the crackdown in June 2016, but police insist all died because they violently resisted arrest.

Police reject activists’ allegations that they are executing suspected drug users and dealers in a systematic campaign of abuses and cover-ups. In his war on drugs, Duterte has been accused of allowing a culture of impunity to flourish.

In the same memorandum, Dela Rosa ordered police to immediately take injured suspects to hospital, and establish a database of those who died in police operations.

In June, Reuters revealed that police have shot hundreds of people during anti-drug operations, before taking them to hospitals where they are declared dead on arrival. Police say they’re trying to save lives. Bereaved relatives and other witnesses say police are sending corpses to hospitals to disrupt crime scenes and cover up extrajudicial killings.

Police were also ordered to limit the much-feared “Oplan Tokhang” operations, when they visit homes of users and dealers and seek their surrender, to between 8am and 5pm on weekdays, police spokesman Dionardo Carlos told a separate media briefing.

“It has to be daytime, so as to erase the impression that if you have been the subject of Tokhang, you would be killed,”Carlos said, adding police would be required to wear their uniforms during such operations.

The Philippines has hit back at New York-based Human Rights Watch for what it called a misleading death toll of more than 12,000 in the drugs war, putting the number at half that.

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The grandmother of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos, Violeta, cries beside his casket yesterday in Caloocan City. Relatives and concerned neighbors of the teenager slain by police are calling for justice. MICHAEL VARCAS
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One of the fatalities, who has yet to be identified, was killed in an alleged shootout with police officers in Guiguinto, Bulacan on June 16. AP/Aaron Favila, file
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Jee Ick-joo, a South Korean businessman in the Philippines, was abducted by police from his home in October. It took his wife, Choi Kyung-jin, three months to learn his fate. Video: Eva Tam; photo: Jes Aznar for The Wall Street Journal
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Human Rights Watch: Don’t Be Fooled By Philippines President Duterte’s Distraction Strategy — Demand Accountability

January 23, 2018
Human rights situation in the Philippines is at its worst since the time of ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos, Human Rights Watch says
 
In this Sept. 6, 2016 photo, police inspect one of two unidentified drug suspects after being shot by police as they tried to evade a checkpoint in Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines. AP/Aaron Favila, File photo

MANILA, Philippines — DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano’s accusations against New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) is a manifestation of the Philippine government’s distraction strategy, the human rights watchdog said Tuesday.

On Saturday, Cayetano accused HRW of “misleading the international community” after reporting that the human rights situation in the Philippines is at its worst since the time of ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

The DFA chief also accused the human rights observer of politicising the drug war issue and has not done any research or investigation on the human rights situation in the country.

READ: Philippines in ‘worst human rights crisis’ since Marcos

Phelim Kine, deputy director of HRW’s Asia Division, said that the “groundless” accusations of Cayetano come as no surprise as he is President Rodrigo Duterte’s “chief denier” of the evidence linking the war on drugs to extrajudicial killings.

“They are the latest manifestation of the government’s distraction strategy that appears aimed to sideline domestic and international demands for accountability for what nongovernmental organizations and media outlets estimate is a drug war death toll of more than 12,000 people over the past 18 months,” Kine said.

Cayetano’s declaration before the United Nations General Assembly that the drug war was a necessary instrument to protect the human rights of Filipinos was “demonstrably false,” Kine added.

“It also airbrushed Watch and investigative journalists demonstrating that many of those deaths amount to extrajudicial killings by Philippine National Police personnel and their agents,” Kine said.

The HRW deputy director also noted that Cayetano has not called for justice for the thousands of deaths linked to the anti-drug campaign.

“The government has made no genuine efforts to seek accountability for drug war abuses. There have been no successful prosecutions or convictions of police implicated in the killings, despite compelling evidence,” Kine added.

Kine stressed that there is a need for a United Nations-led international investigation into the killings to expose the extent of the abuses in the conduct of the anti-drug campaign. The investigation would also determine possible prosecutions for crimes against humanity.

In its World Report 2018 released last week, HRW noted that Duterte’s drug war has claimed an estimated 12,000 lives since June 2016.

“President Rodrigo Duterte has plunged the Philippines into its worst human rights crisis since the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s and 1980s,” the report read.

The human rights watchdog cited extrajudicial killings, attacks on human rights defenders, children’s rights, press freedom, HIV epidemic, sexual orientation and gender identity, terrorism and counterterrorism and relations with international actors as factors in making the assessment.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/01/23/1780587/hrw-hits-back-dutertes-distraction-strategy-sidelines-demand

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The grandmother of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos, Violeta, cries beside his casket yesterday in Caloocan City. Relatives and concerned neighbors of the teenager slain by police are calling for justice. MICHAEL VARCAS
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One of the fatalities, who has yet to be identified, was killed in an alleged shootout with police officers in Guiguinto, Bulacan on June 16. AP/Aaron Favila, file
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President Rodrigo Duterte and PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa. PhilStar photo

Jee Ick-joo, a South Korean businessman in the Philippines, was abducted by police from his home in October. It took his wife, Choi Kyung-jin, three months to learn his fate. Video: Eva Tam; photo: Jes Aznar for The Wall Street Journal
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