Posts Tagged ‘PNP’

How Did Duterte Come To Power in the Philippines? Fentanyl and his mental condition were not as yet factors…

October 18, 2017

By  – @inquirerdotnet

 / 05:06 AM October 16, 2017

How did the demagoguery begin? With the morbidity of the killings hitting the poor’s hovels, we begin to ruminate perplexed at how this catastrophe will end.

It will end as how it began.

The campaign canonized him on the impetus of anger with elitist politics, a signal of discontent with the status quo. An outsider to Manila-centric politics was seen as the antidote to the nation’s skewed power dynamics. This proved its greatest irony: In fact, this was a candidate traditionally elitist to the core. What caused the ignorance?

Rodrigo Duterte was invincible in Davao City as local autocrats are in their own turfs. No semblance of public furor, an important democratic institution, has been seen in Davao directly against him in his 20 years of power. Supporters used this as a fundamental reference of his “popularity.”

In 2007, a National Bureau of Investigation report identified Paolo Duterte and a business partner as “members of a big-time syndicate engaged in smuggling high-end cars, used clothing, rice and sugar.” The contraband, said to be concealed in container vans, entered Davao without the necessary import permits, the report said, because the alleged operators “enjoyed the protection of some corrupt Customs officials and members of the Philippine National Police.” A subsequent report by the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group echoed: “These activities were undertaken without any arrest or apprehension by concerned government agencies due to the alleged power and influence of Davao City Mayor Duterte.”

In 2012, a Commission on Audit report said that Davao City Hall hired 11,000 individuals for six months, including 110 consultants, costing P677 million. The sample audit conducted found city hall “could provide only a master list of those hired, their fixed wages, positions and the funding source but not official contracts or accomplishment reports.” Only 59 casuals showed up for the audit. City hall claimed the rest were out on field work “but there were no pass slips as proof, no deployment plan.”

How did these impact the Davao public, accustomed to talk sub rosa? Media sources explain that these reports “get written; whether they are pursued is another matter.” The common answer given was: “Jun Pala’s murder was instructive. The Dutertes take political issues personally. Davao media is monitored.” (Note: Pala, radio commentator highly critical of the Dutertes, was fatally shot by riding tandem gunmen on Sept. 6, 2003.)

The Filipino electorate had also seriously skimmed over what was supposed to be a red flag: the fat Duterte dynasty, four members in power (total of five, counting the President’s brother, who was city councilor). Provincial politics is a replica of Manila, with the same detritus that litters Manila. He was no outsider to the system.

“The nation was so desperate for change that it was seduced by the Pied Piper,” writes Cesar Polvorosa, professor and writer based in Canada. At the outset, the vitriolic rhetoric was a novelty, fun even. It wore out as a broken record (including his jokes on the late Justice Arsenio Solidum). The loquaciousness exposed his flip-flopping common to traditional politicians, an apparent accommodation of interests. The public saw “heightened expectations that are not actualized,” writes Jose Ma. Montelibano. Mr. Duterte was indecisive as his predecessor was who protected his own kith and kin.

So-called “narco lists” remain unverified, having once included a Calbayog city judge long dead. And take note, Fentanyl and his mental condition were not as yet factors of reckoning during the campaign.

The disguise worked in Davao. In the national level, he is stripped of all disguises. The popularity was ampao: puffed
and empty.

Local autocrats cannot be scaled up to the national level. Being First Family is not all pomp and power; there is also fair game under a magnifying glass.

The final arbiter will be how they measure up to accountability and commit to transparency, matters alien to an intimidated public and media in Davao. Signing the waiver is for love of country.

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Philippine DEA being ‘demonized’ by Amnesty International — Duterte Administration Says

October 14, 2017
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said AI simply wanted to “demonize” the PDEA after President Duterte tasked the agency to take over the government’s flagship campaign from the Philippine National Police (PNP). File

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang yesterday decried the vilification campaign against the Duterte administration by Amnesty International (AI) in undermining the capabilities of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) to lead the war against illegal drugs.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said AI simply wanted to “demonize” the PDEA after President Duterte tasked the agency to take over the government’s flagship campaign from the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“While Amnesty International is known to be disparaging of the frontline role of the PNP in the anti-illegal drug campaign, now it sees the relief of the agency as a mere public relations stunt,” Abella lamented.

“PDEA is the new object of AI’s, and similar groups’ ire and vilification. Nevertheless, the government will proceed in its drive to make the Philippines a crime-, corruption- and illegal drug-free nation,” he said.

Abella said Malacañang remains “hopeful” that PDEA operations “will not be jeopardized by the interference of outside agencies that fail to appreciate our desire, not for a drug-tolerant but drug-free nation.”

Duterte on Thursday ordered the PNP to pull out from the war against drugs and tasked the PDEA to take the lead in the anti-drug campaign.

The PNP’s “Oplan Tokhang,” the flagship campaign against illegal drugs, was halted along with “Oplan Double Barrel Reloaded” and other anti-illegal drug operations in the field.

Duterte signed a memorandum on Wednesday directing the PNP, along with the National Bureau of Investigation, Armed Forces of the Philippines as well as the Bureau of Customs and all other agencies to refrain from spearheading drug operations.

The order also covers all ad hoc anti-drug task forces.

Duterte had said his order was to “satisfy” the call of rights groups and the international community to tone down his brutal campaign against drugs.

AI, however, said Duterte’s decision to shift the responsibility of pursuing the campaign against drugs could be just a “short term” public relations stunt to appease the growing criticism.

James Gomez, the watchdog’s international director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said putting PDEA in charge was just meant to squelch public furor over the mounting number of dead people, most of whom are poor and young.

Gomez said Duterte had done this before when the police were temporarily ordered to cease conducting anti-drugs raids following the outrage over the killing of a South Korean businessman inside the PNP headquarters.

No reforms were done and Duterte immediately reinstated the PNP to the drug war under “Oplan Double Barrel Reloaded.”

Gomez said the government should end the brutal war and adopt a policy that would respect and protect human rights.

Duterte on Friday said he would maintain a hands-off policy in the campaign against illegal drugs since he has already tasked PDEA to lead the campaign.

He added critics and human rights advocates who were noisy about the killings will be “winning” in his decision to pull out the PNP from the drug war.

Duterte said he gave the authority to PDEA in a bid to shield the PNP and law enforcement agencies from the accusations of summary killings of drug suspects.

In a television interview on Friday night, Duterte admitted his decision would have serious consequences on the drug problem. He did not elaborate.

More money for PDEA

On the other hand, a party-list congressman proposed giving more support and budget to the PDEA.

“Congress should give PDEA between P10 billion and P15 billion so it can hire more agents and personnel to be more effective in the anti-drug war,” Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza said.

“They need it because they are undermanned, underequipped. If they are not given the necessary funding support, they will fail,” he said.

Atienza said the P900-million funding for next year for the anti-drug campaign of the PNP should be realigned to augment PDEA’s P2.6-billion budget.

“Since the PNP has been directed to stop conducting anti-drug operations, necessarily, that fund should be transferred to PDEA,” he added.

Atienza supported the President’s decision to transfer the lead role on the anti-drug war from the PNP to PDEA.

“We should all rally around President Duterte’s decision to give the PDEA this job. After all, the PDEA is the primary agency tasked with the government’s anti-drug effort. The police, on the other hand, should concentrate on apprehending criminals roaming the country today,” he said.  – With Jess Diaz


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Philippine National Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa

READ: Duterte sees 18-point drop in satisfaction rating

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

READ: Duterte brings back police into war on drugs

Philippine lawyers ask Supreme Court to halt ‘illegal’ war on drugs that lets police kill and circumvent legal procedures

October 11, 2017


MANILA (Reuters) – A group of Philippine lawyers on Wednesday filed an injunction with the Supreme Court to try to stop President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, calling it as an illegal campaign that lets police kill and circumvent legal procedures.

Image result for Lawyer Jose Manuel Diokno from the Free Legal Assistance Group, photos

 Lawyer Jose Manuel Diokno from the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), speaks during a news conference in metro Manila, Philippines October 11, 2017. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

The government’s directive for the fierce 15-month-old crackdown permits police to “negate” and “neutralise” targets, effectively granting them a license to kill suspected users and dealers, without gathering evidence or building a case, the lawyers said.

A practice of compiling lists of “drug personalities” and encouraging citizens to anonymously provide names was tantamount to drawing up a hit list, the petition said. It called for judicial intervention in thousands of cases where Filipinos were killed by police.

 Image result for Jose Manuel Diokno, photos
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald dela Rosa and Jose Manuel Diokno

“The present war on drugs being waged by the government is not going to stop illegal drugs, crime and corruption,” Jose Manuel Diokno, chairman of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), told a news conference.

“(It) will only result in the killing of more and more people especially the poor.”

The petition comes as public scrutiny intensifies on Duterte’s signature campaign, which he insists will not stop, regardless of the bloodshed. He says he is prepared to go to jail to protect Filipinos from crimes fueled by addiction.

Duterte rejects criticism that his notoriously bellicose public remarks have been interpreted by some police as veiled instructions to kill drug users, with impunity.

Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman Dionardo Carlos said police “welcome the filing of the petition before the Supreme Court”. He did not elaborate.

Though Filipinos are largely supportive of Duterte’s iron-fisted approach, recent opinion polls indicate public doubts that his drugs war is above board and effective as the government says. Analysts say unease about the campaign has contributed to Duterte’s ratings decline.

PNP data shows 3,900 people have been killed in operations in which police say armed suspects violently resisted arrest. Duterte’s opponents and activists dispute that and say executions and cover-ups are commonplace, which police deny.

The petition by FLAG, which is comprised of around 200 pro-bono human rights lawyers, was filed on behalf of three people whose relatives were killed by police.

FLAG has also represented two men who testified before the Senate that they were part of an alleged “death squad” that killed drug dealers and criminals at Duterte’s behest when he was Davao City mayor, long before his presidency.

Duterte dismisses the allegation as nonsense.

The latest petition seeks to compel the PNP and the interior ministry to halt the campaign and wants killings to be examined by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), which would take charge of evidence, including guns that police say were used by victims.

It said house-to-house visits by anti-drugs police followed unverified tip-offs from unknown informants and were not based on evidence. It argues police had no intent to persuade suspects to surrender and would kill anyone who refused to cooperate or denied involvement.

“The government’s war on drugs is short-cutting the justice system by dispensing justice from the barrels of guns,” the petition said.

Amnesty International Secretary General Says President Duterte Runs a “War on the Poor” — “The national police are breaking laws they are supposed to uphold while profiting from murder”

October 8, 2017
Speaking about corruption during the One Young World Summit on Thursday (Friday in Manila), AI secretary general Salil Shetty cited Duterte as among the world leaders who fail to directly address significant issues hounding their respective constituencies. PCOO/Released

BOGOTÁ, Colombia – An official of international human rights organization Amnesty International (AI) criticized President Duterte during a youth summit here attended by over 1,300 international delegates.

Speaking about corruption during the One Young World Summit on Thursday (Friday in Manila), AI secretary general Salil Shetty cited Duterte as among the world leaders who fail to directly address significant issues hounding their respective constituencies.

“What (Donald) Trump is doing in the United States is not unique to the US,” Shetty said, referring to the US President’s controversial policies such as the ban on Muslims and refugees.

“Instead of dealing with issues such as corruption, inequality, discrimination, racial injustices, what he does and other leaders – take Duterte in the Philippines for example and (Prime Minister Viktor) Orbán in Hungary – instead of dealing with real issues, they divert their attention and (they use) particular parts of the community (as scapegoats),” he added.

Shetty did not provide additional details in his speech, although the organization is known to be a critic of Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs and the Hungarian government’s recent policy on foreign funding for non-government organizations.

AI claimed that the Philippine government may be held liable for crimes against humanity over the death of thousands in the so-called war on drugs.

“This is not a war on drugs, but a war on the poor. Often on the flimsiest of evidence, people accused of using or selling drugs are being killed for cash in an economy of murder,” the group claimed in its report in January.

“Under President Duterte’s rule, the national police are breaking laws they are supposed to uphold while profiting from the murder of impoverished people the government was supposed to uplift. The same streets Duterte vowed to rid of crime are now filled with bodies of people illegally killed by his own police,” it added.

The Philippine government has denied the claims and maintained that the campaign is necessary to address the drug problem in the country.

In his speech, Shetty maintained that AI is a non-partisan organization that is focused on ensuring human rights for all.

“Amnesty International just says the truth the way it is. It doesn’t beat around the bush. We have no political agenda, no religious, no economic, no orthodoxy. The only thing we do is we stand up for human rights,” he said.

Youth vs. corruption

During the summit, Shetty and other advocates urged the youth to take part in efforts to address corruption and seek accountability from officials.

“Corruption affects everybody, but there is no question that it affects the poor, the marginalized, the voiceless significantly more,” he said.

“Young people are standing up against injustice, against corruption. It’s not that you always win that battle, it’s a tough battle, but victories are not uncommon,” he added.

Thuli Madonsela, former public protector of South Africa who is in charge of investigating misconduct of government officials, said the problem of corruption is systemic all around world.

“Young people should use technology to hold governments accountable,” she said.

“They need to send strong messages to those who want to govern that say that if you don’t end corruption, we will not vote for you,” added Madonsela, who is also part of the team that drafted South Africa’s constitution signed by former president Nelson Mandela.

Nobel Peace Prize 2011 laureate Tawakkol Karman said states need to put into place legislation that tackles corruption and promotes transparency.

“If we want to fight corruption, we need a strong constitution, stable institutions and strict laws,” she said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Can we trust the Philippine police?’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Philippine National Police: 6,225 drug-related deaths between July 2016 and September 2017 — Only one extrajudicial killing — International human rights groups laugh, cry — More like 13,000 individuals killed

October 6, 2017
According to the Philippine National Police, there have been 6,225 drug-related deaths between July 2016 and September 2017. Despite this, the authorities claim that there has only been one extrajudicial victim under the current administration. AFP/Noel Celis

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos should not be worried for their lives as there has only been one case of extrajudicial killing under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, the Philippine National Police claimed.

“The PNP protects every individual’s right to life. To allay or remove their fear, let it be known that under the present administration, there is only one case of extrajudicial killing or EJK for the period July 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017,” PNP said in a statement.

PNP noted that the possibility of being an EJK victim is “very remote, if we based it on facts and not on impression or perception.”

The statement came as a response the results of the latest Social Weather Station survey, which revealed that seven out of 10 Filipinos are anxious that they, or anyone they know, might become EJK victims.

READSWS: Vast majority of Filipinos think drug suspects should be captured alive

The only extrajudicial killing the PNP recognizes is the death of Catanduanes-based journalist Larry Que.

Catanduanes Gov. Joseph Cua and cop Vincent Tacorda had been implicated in Que’s case.

Tacorda is the whistleblower who claimed he was ordered by his superiors to kill drug personalities. He, however, recanted his statement after “serious soul searching.”

Administrative Order 35

During the Universal Periodic Review of the Philippines at the UN Human Rights Council in May, Alan Peter Cayetano — then a senator — argued that only killings that are covered by Administrative Order 35. AO35, which was signed by President Benigno Aquino III in 2012, created the Inter-Agency Committee on Extra-legal Killings, Enforced Disappearances, Torture and Other Grave Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of Persons.

“Administrative Order 35 signed by then President Benigno Aquino III defined EJKs as the killing of the members or advocates of cause-oriented organizations like labor, environment or media activists resulting in very low number of supposed EJKs in the past administration,” Cayetano said after human rights groups and administration critics characterized drug-related killings as extrajudicial.

READ: Cayetano uses restrictive EJK definition, experts say

But Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates said in May that the strict terminology in AO 35 specifically applies to the cases handled by the IAC, which was tasked to probe clear-cut EJK cases rampant that time.

PAHRA Secretary General Rose Trajano said that the government cannot quote AO 35 because “the general definition of EJKs, even at the international level, is any death sanctioned or with the acquiescence of the government outside the due process or the rule of law.”

“What was mentioned in the definition of AO 35 just represents a prioritization of extrajudicial killings that were happening at that time and right now we know that the situation has changed,” Human Rights Commissioner Karen Gomez Dumpit said in an interview at the time.

“Based on the press statement by Professor Philip Alston, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, during his mission to the DR Congo in 2009, the international law definition of extrajudicial execution ‘encompasses any killing by government forces as well as killings by any other groups or individuals which the government fails to investigate, prosecute and punish when it is in a position to do so,’”CHR spokesperson Jacqueline De Guia also said.

Also PNP: 6,225 drug-related deaths since July 2016

The SWS study also showed that nine out of 10 Filipinos believe it is important that authorities capture drug personalities alive.

As a response, PNP said “the drug suspects who surrendered and arrested alive comprise the approximate 99.98 percent results of the PNP campaign against illegal drugs.”

But PNP said there have been 6,225 drug-related deaths between July 2016 and September 2017.

The police said 3,850 have “died in police operations,” suggesting these are drug suspects who engaged arresting officers in shootouts; while the another 2,290 “deaths under investigation,” have already been determined to be “drug-related.”

READPNP: 6,225 drug-related deaths since July 2016

According to the #RealNumbersPH August 29 update, there were 3,811 drug personalities who died in anti-drug operations.

From July 1 to September 30, PNP conducted 71,393 anti-drug operations that resulted in the arrest of 109,090 drug offenders.

However, human rights groups estimate a higher death toll, with some estimates going as high as 13,000 individuals killed in the course of the administration’s anti-narcotics campaign.

“These actions proved that the PNP values the right to life of these unfortunate victims of illegal drug,” PNP said.

READ: SWS: Majority of Filipinos think ‘nanlaban’ victims didn’t really fight back

How Best Can The Philippines Live Up To Its Promise to Cooperate on A United Nations Investigation?

October 1, 2017

The United Nations has an office and a resident representative in the Philippines so it surely has gathered some information on killings related to President Duterte’s war on drugs.

In our society, the information gathered through unofficial channels can be more reliable than what is provided by the government in a formal fact-finding mission. For several months now, certain human rights and lawyers’ groups have been documenting the drug killings and collecting material evidence for future use in an investigation. A day of reckoning will come, as sure as night turns into day, as the cliché goes; no one stays in power forever.

The UN, however, can be expected to prefer an official investigation, with the government in the subject state cooperating.

If the UN wants to speed things up, it may have to compromise with the Duterte government, whose top diplomat assured the UN chief last week that the Philippines would welcome any independent probe by an unbiased individual or UN team. This means anyone but the UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, whom Duterte believes has already prejudged the situation.

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Agnes Callamard

We’ve seen how Duterte behaves when he dislikes a person. Consider his actions and statements on Barack Obama and the previous US ambassador posted in Manila. With Obama out, the Duterte government is now preparing to welcome US President Donald Trump to Manila next month. Duterte has said he wants to be on friendlier terms with Washington.

Callamard may have to step aside and give way to someone else if the UN Human Rights Council wants to get this probe going ASAP. There are reports that the council’s special rapporteur on the right to health, Dainius Puras of Lithuania, is open to conducting the probe. Maybe he can emphasize the value of treating the drug menace partly as a public health problem.

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte

In 2007, the UN sent a special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or special executions, Philip Alston, to the country. He concluded that the Armed Forces of the Philippines was in a “state of almost total denial” regarding EJKs.

The AFP denied engaging in summary executions, attributing the deaths of left-leaning activists and suspected communist rebels to legitimate counterinsurgency operations and the insurgents’ internal purge. Alston also slammed human rights violations committed by the rebels, but this was eclipsed by his condemnation of the AFP.

After the statements were issued, Alston left Manila, the story disappeared from the news, and it was back to business as usual in our country.

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This time, the UN probe is seen to be directed not at the AFP but the Philippine National Police and Duterte himself.

Also, the suspected EJK victims are not communist rebels or sympathizers, which allowed the AFP to describe them as combatant enemies of the state, but thousands of civilians including over 50 teenagers.

And unlike Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who was president when Alston came visiting, Duterte is facing a serious effort by his opponents to hale him before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity.

In recent weeks there has been talk that the ICC is set to initiate an investigation into the complaint filed by the lawyer of self-confessed hit man Edgar Matobato, who claims to be a former member of the Davao death squad.

This was relayed to me by several non-partisan persons who do not engage in rumor-mongering and who have some capability to filter out fake news. I asked them how this could be possible for the ICC when there are still mechanisms available in the Philippines for curbing human rights abuses.

Their guess was that recent developments had given the impression that the capability and willingness of the state to stop the abuses had been compromised.

But perhaps these have been overtaken by other developments, including the about-face of the Palace rubberstamp Congress on the 2018 budget of the Commission on Human Rights and the sacking of the entire Caloocan police force.

In case you haven’t noticed, there have also been significantly fewer cases of drug killings since the executions of Kian Loyd delos Santos, Carl Angelo Arnaiz and Reynaldo de Guzman.

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If the government acknowledges that concerns about the conduct of the drug war are reasonable, it can have a better chance of explaining why this war tends to be dirty and violent.

It can successfully explain the seriousness of the drug menace in our country, and how it is undermining democratic processes and fueling Islamist terrorism. The threat posed by the Islamic State is something understood well by those 39 nations that signed the expression of concern at the UN in Geneva.

There is also credible intel, picked up even by certain foreign governments, that the IS-inspired Mautes, supported by some local politicians in Mindanao, are truly raising funds through drug deals to finance their terrorism. Drug money, after all, is big money, and drug trafficking is less messy than kidnapping for ransom, as the local protectors of the Abu Sayyaf are starting to find out.

The Philippine government can actually use help from those 39 states in fighting drug trafficking and the IS threat. Some of them, including the United States and Australia, are already providing assistance.

Because of his propensity for talking off the cuff, Duterte has given the impression that he has given his anti-drug cops blanket authority to do whatever they want to neutralize drug personalities. A system of reward and punishment, backed by Duterte’s numerous pronouncements that no cop will ever go to jail for drug kills, no doubt encouraged those overnight mass executions of dozens of drug suspects.

Duterte has only belatedly admitted that there are abusive cops – and in fact that there are about 9,000 cops involved in drug deals – and he’s not going to protect them.

The Duterte administration may burnish its position before the UN if the anti-drug police would arrest more big fish – and not just narco politicians long linked to organized crime such as the Parojinogs. A unit in a posh condominium in eastern Metro Manila, for example, is gaining notoriety for operating as a drug den and playground of an arrogant congressman believed to be using drugs since his youth. And there are people who will believe the drug war is not selective only if the government will stop mollycoddling Duterte supporter Peter Lim, confirmed by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency to be the same man on its top five most wanted list. Lim of course denies any drug links.

Several administration officials, if not Duterte himself, must be genuinely concerned about the Philippines’ human rights record before the international community. At this point, there are still measures that can be undertaken to make their position defensible.


Philippines: Doubts grow over Duterte drug war killings, poll shows — Might affect the legitimacy of the whole government

September 27, 2017


© AFP/File | Activists burn an effigy during a protest against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to denounce drug war killings and what they say is a slide towards tyranny

MANILA (AFP) – Nearly half of Filipinos believe police are killing innocent people in waging President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drugs war, according to survey results released Wednesday.Police have reported killing 3,850 suspected drug dealers who allegedly resisted arrest during a 15-month crackdown waged in the name of Duterte’s election campaign vow to rid society of narcotics.

Thousands of other people have been murdered in unexplained circumstances which rights groups partly attribute to vigilante death squads.

Previous surveys showed popular support for the crackdown. The latest poll by the respected Social Weather Station (SWS) was the first indication that significant numbers of Filipinos doubt the official version of the deaths.

“Forty-nine percent of the country agrees with the statement, ‘Many of those killed by the police in the anti-drug campaign are not really drug pushers’,” SWS said in a statement.

Twenty-three percent disagreed, while 27 percent were undecided, according to the Manila organisation, which surveyed 1,200 adults face-to-face across the country from June 23-26.

Twenty percent “strongly agree” and 34 percent “somewhat agree” that ‘Many of those killed by the police in the anti-drug campaign did not really fight against the police”, it added.

Eight percent strongly disagreed and 12 percent somewhat disagreed, with 25 percent undecided.

Duterte spokesman Ernesto Abella dismissed the poll findings.

“It seems the 2nd quarter Social Weather Stations survey contains leading and pointed questions that may have unduly influenced the answers of respondents,” Abella said in a statement.

National police spokesman Chief Superintendent Dionardo Carlos said the poll findings were about “perception”, adding 85 police officers had also been killed and more than 200 wounded while enforcing the crackdown.

It was the first time such a figure had been given.

“It only shows that there was resistance and danger because we lost lives,” Carlos added.

Political analyst Javad Heydarian told AFP that while Filipinos backed the drug war, in principle, “they have consistently raised concern with extrajudicial killings as well as the reliability and professionalism of the national police”.

He added: “It certainly puts pressure on Duterte to instill more discipline within the law enforcement ranks.”

Dindo Manhit, president of the Manila-based policy think-tank Stratbase ADR Institute, said past SWS surveys consistently showed strong support for Duterte and his war on drugs.

“Once the public does not support government programmes it might affect the legitimacy of the whole government, and this is not good for a democratically elected president,” Manhit added.

Duterte has rejected international rights monitors’ warnings he could be orchestrating a crime against humanity.