Posts Tagged ‘President Rodrigo Duterte’

Philippine National Police “Hidden Jail” Adds to List of Gross Human Rights Violations, Disregard for Rule of Law — “PNP exploiting the deadly campaign for their personal gain.” — Expect unlawful police abuses in the name of Duterte’s “war on drugs” to continue

April 28, 2017
Detainees huddle in a makeshift detention cell hidden behind a shelf in the Manila Police District’s Drug Enforcement Unit office on Thursday, April 27, 2017. “The facility housed a dozen men and women in atrocious, grossly overcrowded conditions,” Human Rights Watch said. STAR/Miguel de Guzman

MANILA, Philippines —  Signs of abuses in President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal war on drugs will continue to surface after an allegedly hidden jail was discovered in Tondo, an international human rights organization said on Friday.

Phelim Kine, deputy director for Asia at New York-based Human Rights Watch, warned that elements of the Philippine National Police are exploiting the deadly campaign for their personal gain.

Representatives from the Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights trooped to Manila Police District Station 1 yesterday after receiving a tip that several personalities are held up and being extorted of P40,000 to P200,000 in exchange of their freedom.

The surprise visit of CHR led them to an airless cell concealed by a bookshelf at a police station in Tondo, an urban poor district in Manila.

“The facility housed a dozen men and women in atrocious, grossly overcrowded conditions,” Kine said in a statement.

Gilbert Boisner, a lawyer who serves as CHR’s head in Metro Manila, said that the detainees suffer from inhumane conditions inside the cell.

He earlier told the STAR that the detainees were hidden from the public and did not undergo inquest proceedings. At least four individuals also said they were being asked to produce money in exchange for freedom.

“Detainees said that inadequate lighting, ventilation, and toilet facilities forced them ‘to urinate and [do] bowel movements in plastic bags,” Kine said, citing Boisner.

In a television interview, Tondo station 1 commander Superintendent Roberto Domingo claimed that it was his initiative to use the vacant space in their office to accommodate other detainees since their cell is congested.

Domingo also denied the allegations they are extorting money.

“Hindi po tagong kulungan ‘yun, ‘yun po ay holding area kasi doon ang investigation room ng drug enforcement unit… wala na po kami mapaglagyan ng preso dahil sa dami,” Domingo told “State of the Nation” of GMA News TV.

The HRW, meanwhile, noted a similar case of alleged police abuse in the killing of Korean businessman Jee Ick Joo. The victim was abducted and killed by cops inside the PNP national headquarters in Quezon City.

“The officers—members of the Anti-Illegal Drugs Group – used a fake arrest warrant that falsely accused him of illegal drug activities. They reportedly strangled Jee to death that same day, but two weeks later demanded—and received—a $100,000 ransom from his family,” Kine said.

Earlier, HRW research also exposed the death squad-style extrajudicial executions by police and police agents.

Kine believes that the key to stop the abuse of human rights in the Philippines is an investigation by United Nations.

“Expect unlawful police abuses in the name of Duterte’s “war on drugs” to continue until the United Nations establishes an urgently needed independent, international investigation into the killings—and the secret jails that are part of it,” Kine said.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/04/28/1694768/hidden-jail-seen-sign-pnps-abuse-drug-war

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Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl — killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs — looks like it has been put out with the trash….. Presidential spokeman Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

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Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kline also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

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Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/07/08/1600763/cop-linked-drugs-tortured-killed

 (December 23, 2016)

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 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

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High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa
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Philippines: Duterte Says No Point in Confronting China over South China Sea — What if China treats Filipinos the way Duterte treats drug addicts?

April 27, 2017
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, right, of Brunei and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, chat as they walk for their bilateral meeting following welcoming ceremony for the Sultan Thursday, April 27, 2017 at Malacanang Palace in Manila, Philippines. Bolkiah arrived Wednesday for a state visit and to attend the annual ASEAN Leaders’ Summit which the Philippines is hosting this weekend. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte dismissed the idea that the Philippines can pressure China through international opinion by raising the country’s legal victory on the South China Sea, saying those who want him to do so are dreaming.

Duterte also shrugged off China’s artificial islands within Philippine-claimed waters as a “non-issue” while speaking to reporters at Malacañan two days before the ASEAN leaders’ summit in Manila.

“It cannot be an issue anymore, (the islands) are already there. What would be the purpose of discussing it when we cannot do anything?” Duterte said.

When a reporter suggested that international pressure can mount on China, Duterte said: “(We) cannot do that, you’re just dreaming. Those are theories that you are dreaming (of), that’s really the Obama style. All dreams.”

For the Philippine leader, who is known to be friendly with Beijing and Moscow but hostile to Washington, the United States did not try to stop China when it started reclaiming disputed reefs and shoals in the South China Sea in 2013.

Duterte’s views did not consider that the US has been condemning and challenging China’s military buildup in the key trade route.

ALSO READ: Blatant gaps seen in Duterte’s South China Sea policy

Duterte has insisted that the award should take a back seat as his government resets direct talks with China on the issue, even as the Philippines has earned the nod of a tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea that effectively ruled out China’s expansive claims in July last year,

“China has already said, ‘We will not honor (the ruling). So why would you insist that here, here it is,” Duterte said, who then made a slapping sound and let out an expletive. “You’re looking for trouble. Now, are you preparing for trouble? That’s the problem.”

He added that the best way to deal with China is by talking. “That’s the only luxury we have, talking. Action? Tell us how. Tell me. Educate me how.”

Duterte’s predecessor, Benigno Aquino III, opted to file an arbitration case against China after direct negotiations proved to be futile. China has long insisted on joint exploration and development within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

Downplaying the award

The president, a former Davao City prosecutor, also appeared to be confused over legal terms used in the landmark ruling that covered the Philippines’ jurisdiction over several shoals and reefs in the Spratlys. While he tried to explain that the award does not rule on “territorial” claims, he erred in saying it also did not have a say on jurisdiction.

“Entitlements lang ang question d’yan sa arbitral, hindi jurisdiction (Only entitlements are questioned in the arbitral award, not jurisdiction). Not even territory. It is outside of our territory, but it is part of our… exclusive economic zone,” Duterte said.

“How will you raise the issue? It’s a non-issue. Why insist on it… no one will listen to you,” he continued.

The UN-backed tribunal’s verdict found that China violated the Philippines’ sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone by interfering with Philippine fishing activities and mineral exploration and by constructing islands.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, one of the most vocal champions of the Philippines’ claims, warned the government last month against issuing statements and actions that waive the country’s rights in the South China Sea.

“Avoid any act, statement or declaration that expressly or impliedly waives Philippine sovereignty to any Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea. This will preserve for future generations of Filipinos their national patrimony in the West Philippine Sea,” he said.

Duterte previously promised that he would raise the arbitral award with China at some point during his term as president.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/04/27/1694482/duterte-pressuring-china-arbitral-award-all-dreams

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FILE — In this Dec. 24, 2015, photo, provided by Filipino fisherman Renato Etac, a Chinese Coast Guard boat approaches Filipino fishermen near Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea. Scarborough Shoal has always been part of the Philippines, by international law. China says it is happy to control fishing in the South China Sea. Credit: Renato Etac

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On July 12, 2016 a ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said China’s nine-dash line claim (shown above) was invalid and not recognized in international law.

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Philippines: President Duterte Under Fire From The New York Times

April 27, 2017

By Penny Starr

Beitbart

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte walks past honour guards before Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald Bato Dela Rosa's Assumption of Command Ceremony at the Camp Crame in Manila on July 1, 2016. Authoritarian firebrand Rodrigo Duterte was sworn in as the Philippines' president on June 30, after promising a ruthless and deeply controversial war on crime would be the main focus of his six-year term. / AFP / NOEL CELIS (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The New York Times’ (NYT) editorial board published a commentary focused on a Philippine lawyer’s request to the International Criminal Court in the Hague to charge the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, with mass murder and crimes against humanity for his crackdown on drug traffickers.

“A Filipino lawyer formally asked the International Criminal Court on Monday to charge President Rodrigo Duterte and 11 officials with mass murder and crimes against humanity over the extrajudicial killings of thousands of people in the Philippines over the past three decades,” the NYT editorial stated, under the headline “Let the World Condemn Duterte.”

“The I.C.C. should promptly open a preliminary investigation into the killings,” the editorial stated.

Attorney Jude Josue Sabio filed the complaint under his name, but he is also representing two men who claim they were paid members of Duterte’s so-called death squad, according to the Times.

The complaint reports the deaths of 9,400 people, including political rivals and innocent civilian adults and children.

“Mr. Sabio is not the first to accuse Mr. Duterte of mass killings — so have Human Rights Watch, in 2009; Amnesty International, this January; and some brave Filipino politicians. The I.C.C. chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, declared last October that the court was ‘closely following’ developments in the Philippines,” the editorial stated.

The Times notes that, despite these facts, Duterte remains popular and the conditions might not meet the requirements for the high court’s consideration.

“But there is already more than enough evidence for a preliminary investigation, which would send an unmistakable signal to Mr. Duterte that he may eventually have to answer for his crimes, and would encourage governments to take measures against him, such as imposing tariffs on Philippine goods,” the editorial stated.

“This is a man who must be stopped,” the editorial concluded.

The Philippine Star reported Wednesday that President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesperson called the Times editorial  “reckless, irresponsible and baseless.”

Ernesto Abella said that, while Duterte’s administration recognizes the newspaper’s right to state an opinion, the government has a “clear disagreement” with the editorial because it was based on Sabio’s complaint.

“Sabio is the lawyer of Edgar Matobato, who last year admitted that he was a member of a killing squad that was allegedly used by Duterte to eliminate drug suspects, criminals and political opponents when he was still the mayor of Davao City in southern Philippines,” the Star reported.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, a longtime Duterte critic praised the Times editorial, saying that the evidence against him is “quite substantial.”

“[Duterte] recently offered a reward for information leading to the capture of Abu Sayyaf and other militants behind a foiled attack in the central province of Bohol,” the UK Independent reported: “Eight militants, three soldiers, a policeman and two villagers have died in clashes in Bohol, which lies far from the southern jungle bases of the militants.”

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/04/26/nyt-editorial-board-let-the-world-condemn-duterte/

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Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl — killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs — looks like it has been put out with the trash….. Presidential spokeman Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

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Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kline also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

Image may contain: text

No automatic alt text available.

Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/07/08/1600763/cop-linked-drugs-tortured-killed

 (December 23, 2016)

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 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

Image may contain: 1 person, eyeglasses and beard

High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa
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NY Times editorial paints Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte as ‘a man who must be stopped’

April 26, 2017
/ 04:47 PM April 26, 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte-- April 4. 2017

President Rodrigo Duterte. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC

“This is a man who must be stopped.”

In yet another strongly worded piece on the spate of killings in the Philippines, the New York Times (NYT) editorial board on Wednesday called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to “stop” President Rodrigo Duterte and launch an initial investigation into summary executions amid his administration’s so-called war on drugs.

The editorial, titled “Let the World Condemn Duterte,” touched on the case of crime against humanity filed against Duterte and 11 other officials before the ICC by lawyer Jude Josue Sabio, counsel of confessed Davao Death Squad hitman Edgar Matobato.

READ: Duterte, 11 others accused of crimes against humanity before ICC

“The ICC should promptly open a preliminary investigation into the killings… After he was elected president last year, Mr. Duterte took the killing campaign nationwide, effectively declaring an open season for police and vigilantes on drug dealers and users,” the NYT editorial board said.

“There is already more than enough evidence for a preliminary investigation, which would send an unmistakable signal to Mr. Duterte that he may eventually have to answer for his crimes, and would encourage governments to take measures against him, such as imposing tariffs on Philippine goods,” it added.

But the editorial acknowledged that the ICC may be “reluctant” to prosecute Duterte because of his “enormous” popularity among Filipinos. Duterte has maintained majority satisfaction and trust ratings in the first quarter of 2017, according to recent surveys by Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations.

READ: Duterte keeps ‘very good’ satisfaction rating — SWS | Duterte still most trusted exec—Pulse

It also noted that the ICC was created to “prosecute cases of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes among member countries only when their national courts are unwilling or unable to do so.”

“Those conditions might be met if the Philippines House of Representatives, dominated by Mr. Duterte’s allies, quashes, as expected, an impeachment motion filed by an opposition lawyer,” the editorial read.

“And if the findings of Mr. Sabio, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and politicians, or the confessions of the former death squad members, are not enough evidence, there are Mr. Duterte’s savage words. “Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there is three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them,” he told reporters in one of his most outrageous statements (and misstating the figure for the Holocaust, which is six million). This is a man who must be stopped,” it added.

READ: What ‘filing’ a ‘complaint’ in ICC means

Duterte is facing an impeachment complaint filed by the Magdalo party-list group over his bloody war on drugs and his alleged mishandling of the South China Sea dispute.

In October last year, ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the Court would be “following developments in the Philippines in the weeks to come and record any instance of incitement or resort to violence with a view to assessing whether a preliminary examination into the situation of the Philippines needs to be opened.”

“My Office is aware of worrying reported extra-judicial killings of alleged drug dealers and users in the Philippines…I am deeply concerned about these alleged killings and the fact that public statements of high officials of the Republic of the Philippines seem to condone such killings and further seem to encourage State forces and civilians alike to continue targeting these individuals with lethal force,” Bensouda then said.

“Let me be clear: any person in the Philippines who incites or engages in acts of mass violence including by ordering, requesting, encouraging or contributing, in any other manner, to the commission of crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC is potentially liable to prosecution before the Court,” she added.

The latest NYT editorial follows the release of other pieces critical of Duterte in previous months, including a news feature titled “Becoming Duterte: The Making of a Philippine Strongman,” another editorial titled “Accountability for Duterte,” and a video documentary titled “When a President Says ‘I’ll Kill You.’” The publication also won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News Photography for its photo essay on the war on drugs “They Are Slaughtering Us Like Animals.”

Malacañang earlier accused the NYT of being part of a “well-funded demolition job” against President Duterte. IDL

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A Filipino lawyer formally asked the International Criminal Court on Monday to charge President Rodrigo Duterte and 11 officials with mass murder and crimes against humanity over the extrajudicial killings of thousands of people in the Philippines over the past three decades. The I.C.C. should promptly open a preliminary investigation into the killings.

The lawyer, Jude Josue Sabio, filed the complaint in his own name, but he also represents two men who have publicly said they were paid members of the death squad that Mr. Duterte set up in Davao City when he was the mayor to hunt down drug dealers. After he was elected president last year, Mr. Duterte took the killing campaign nationwide, effectively declaring an open season for police and vigilantes on drug dealers and users. In all, Mr. Sabio said in the 77-page filing, more than 9,400 people have been killed, most of them poor young men, but also bystanders, children and political opponents.

Mr. Sabio is not the first to accuse Mr. Duterte of mass killings — so have Human Rights Watch, in 2009; Amnesty International, this January; and some brave Filipino politicians. The I.C.C. chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, declared last October that the court was “closely following” developments in the Philippines.

There are reasons why the I.C.C. might be reluctant to go after Mr. Duterte. He is enormously popular with many Filipinos, for whom narcotics are a major scourge.

The court, moreover, was created to prosecute cases of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes among member countries only when their national courts are unwilling or unable to do so. Those conditions might be met if the Philippines House of Representatives, dominated by Mr. Duterte’s allies, quashes, as expected, an impeachment motion filed by an opposition lawyer. But there is already more than enough evidence for a preliminary investigation, which would send an unmistakable signal to Mr. Duterte that he may eventually have to answer for his crimes, and would encourage governments to take measures against him, such as imposing tariffs on Philippine goods.

And if the findings of Mr. Sabio, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and politicians, or the confessions of the former death squad members, are not enough evidence, there are Mr. Duterte’s savage words. “Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there is three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them,” he told reporters in one of his most outrageous statements (and misstating the figure for the Holocaust, which is six million).

This is a man who must be stopped.

Mass Murder in the Philippines Reaches The International Criminal Court — Duterte’s anti-crime campaign is about murder of mostly poor young men, lawyer says

April 25, 2017
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Lawyer Jude Sabio holds a 77-page complaint outside the International Criminal Court in The Hague yesterday.

MANILA, Philippines – The lawyer of a self-confessed hit man of the so-called Davao death squad (DDS) yesterday filed a complaint before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague against President Duterte and 11 other officials for alleged crimes against humanity in the course of a nationwide crackdown on drugs.

Jude Josue Sabio, the lawyer of ex-DDS hit man Edgar Matobato, filed the 77-page complaint titled “The Situation of Mass Murder in the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte: The Mass Murderer” before the office of ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

In a Senate inquiry last year, Matobato accused Duterte of masterminding the killings of over a thousand criminal suspects and opponents when the latter was mayor of Davao City.

Aside from Duterte, other officials included in the communication for violating different provisions of the Rome Statute are Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II; Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa; Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez; former interior secretary Ismael Sueno; Supt. Edilberto Leonardo; Senior Police Officer 4 Sanson Buenaventura; Supt. Royina Garma; National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Director Dante Gierran; Solicitor General Jose Calida and Senators Richard Gordon and Alan Peter Cayetano.

The Rome Statute is the treaty that established the ICC, the first permanent international court responsible for trying perpetrators of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression, which are the Statute’s four core international crimes.

The Philippines is a state party to the Rome Statute, together with 123 other state parties, after ratifying it in August 2011.

The ICC steps in only when the state is unable or unwilling to stop the perpetration of the crimes.

Sabio said he filed the complaint to hold Duterte accountable “in the name of international criminal justice, and to once and for all end this dark, obscene, murderous and evil era in the Philippines,” as key government institutions had failed to act on the cases of extrajudicial killings.

“All in all, the ‘repeated, unchanging and continuous’ mass murder being conducted by Duterte has already resulted in the deaths of not less than 1,400 individuals in Davao City under his Davao death squad and not less than 7,000 individuals in his war on drugs (on) the national level,” the complaint read.

“His strategy, system or policy of crime control then in Davao City was to ‘erase’, eliminate or kill suspected criminals such as snatchers, robbers, and drug pushers/addicts through his now infamous Davao death squad. Even while Duterte is already President of the Philippines, his system or strategy of erasing, eliminating and killing persons suspected of crimes is still, in fact, being undertaken in Davao City up to the present,” it stated.

Sabio asked the ICC prosecutor to conduct a preliminary examination and a formal investigation leading to the issuance of a warrant of arrest against Duterte and the 11 other officials for their detention pending their trial “in order to prevent them from continuing with the commission of mass murder and to prevent them from killing potential victims and witnesses.”

The complaint cited 10 similarities in the extrajudicial killings done in Davao City by the DDS and the summary executions happening now, including “the element of police participation and command”; the presence of a hit man or an unknown armed assailant; the inclusion of a cash reward system for every killing and the existence of a “kill watchlist.”

“Sixth, there is collaboration between barangay and police officials; seventh, there is the cardboard sign and the face/body wrapped in packing tape; eighth, there is the use of ‘riding in tandem’ motorcycle-riding assailants; ninth, there is the use of hooded or masked assailants and tenth, there is the planting of a gun and drugs,” it said.

The complaint also cited Duterte’s “‘I will kill you’ mental state,” as well as his claimed “best practices” in fighting crime through summary executions.

To bolster the allegations, the complaint also relied on the testimonies of retired police officer and self-confessed DDS member Arthur Lascañas, who also testified last March before the Senate, confirming Matobato’s claims.

Senators, however, found Lascañas as having no credibility after he testified last year and denied the existence of the DDS when Matobato accused Duterte of spearheading extrajudicial killings.

Lascañas left the country earlier this month for Singapore with his family, saying he feared for his life.

The complaint also cited the petition filed by a certain Ernesto Avasola, who petitioned the courts in 2009 to exhume alleged remains of victims of the DDS in Davao City.

‘Wild’

The complaint also lamented that the Senate had failed to act as a check against the extrajudicial killings despite having conducted at least two inquiries into the summary executions connected to Duterte’s war on drugs.

Sabio contended that the Senate is not expected to seek Duterte’s accountability, as it is dominated by his allies even as he recounted in detail the political shifts in the chamber, including the events leading to the detention of Sen. Leila de Lima on drug charges, the stand of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV against extrajudicial killings and the ouster of members of the Liberal Party from the majority bloc.

“In turn, this unwillingness or inability of the Senate can be interpreted to mean as a direct intention to obstruct justice with the aim of shielding Duterte from being exposed to criminal liability,” Sabio stated.

Except for Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, who described the complaint as “wild,” other senators declined to issue statements or could not be reached for comment.

“Crimes against humanity? Drug pushers fighting back against police operations are now called humanity?” Sotto said in a text message.

Bensouda said that last year, her office was following developments in the Philippines “with a view to assessing whether a preliminary examination needs to be opened.”

“I am deeply concerned about these alleged killings and the fact that public statements of high officials of the Republic of the Philippines seem to condone such killings and further seem to encourage state forces and civilians alike to continue targeting these individuals with lethal force,” she said.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/04/25/1693669/matobato-lawyer-files-case-vs-rody-icc

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JAKARTA, Indonesia — A Filipino lawyer asked the International Criminal Court in The Hague on Monday to charge President Rodrigo Duterte and 11 other Philippine officials with mass murder and crimes against humanity in the killings of thousands of people over three decades.

The lawyer, Jude Josue Sabio, said in a 77-page complaint that Mr. Duterte was the “mastermind” of a campaign that has killed more than 9,400 people, mostly poor young men, since 1988, when Mr. Duterte was first elected mayor of Davao City in the southern Philippines.

“The situation in the Philippines reveals a terrifying, gruesome and disastrous continuing commission of extrajudicial executions or mass murder from the time President Duterte was the mayor of Davao City,” the complaint says.

Mr. Sabio represents two men who say they were paid assassins for Mr. Duterte when he was mayor of Davao City, but filed the case on his own. The court has the authority to accept cases brought by individuals as well as by nations and the United Nations Security Council.

Mr. Duterte was elected president last year after pledging to kill criminals as part of what he called a war on drugs. Since taking office last June, he has repeatedly urged the police to kill suspects and has promised to protect or pardon police officers who are prosecuted.

According to police statistics, more than 4,000 people have been killed by the police in antidrug operations or by vigilantes in drug-related cases since Mr. Duterte became president. Mr. Sabio’s complaint puts that number at more than 8,000.

In addition, the complaint cites the killings of more than 1,400 people who Mr. Sabio and rights advocates say were killed over 28 years in Mr. Duterte’s anti-crime campaign in Davao City.

The complaint also names Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre; the national police chief, Ronald dela Rosa; House of Representatives Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez; and two senators, Peter Cayetano and Richard Gordon.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/24/world/asia/rodrigo-duterte-philippines-icc-complaint.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fworld&action=click&contentCollection=world&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=0

Read the rest:

South China Sea: Defense Secretary’s visit in islands “just routine” for the Philippines — But China was “gravely concerned about and dissatisfied” with the trip

April 23, 2017
Pag-asa Island, part of Palawan province, in the disputed West Philippine Sea is controlled by the Philippines despite Chinese claims of sovereignty over it. STAR/File photo
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MANILA, Philippines — The visit of security officials to Pag-asa Island was routine and was in line with international law, Malacañang said Sunday after China expressed alarm over their trip to the island in the disputed Spratly chain.

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Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and top military officials visited Pag-asa Island in Palawan province on Friday to inspect the facilities in the area, which is inhabited by about 200 people.
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The visit was meant to enable officials to assess what improvements can be done in the island, the second largest in the Spratlys.
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The government has earmarked around P1.6 billion to develop Pag-asa and is planning to build a beaching ramp, fish port, radio station, ice plant, water desalination facility, sewage facility and houses for soldiers.
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The visit did not sit well with China, which claims historical rights over almost 90 percent of areas in the South China Sea, including Pag-asa.
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Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said China was “gravely concerned about and dissatisfied” with the trip, which he claimed went against the consensus reached by Manila and Beijing “to properly deal with the South China Sea issue.”
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Lu Kang — File Photo
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Lu also urged the Philippines to “faithfully follow the consensus” between the two countries, “maintain general peace and stability in the South China Sea” and “promote the sound and steady development of China-Philippine relations.”
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Routine patrol

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Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said Lorenzana’s visit to Pag-asa was just part of a “routine” patrol in the South China Sea, which the Philippines calls the West Philippine Sea.
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“The Philippines has long been undertaking customary and routine maritime patrol and overflight in the West Philippine Sea which are lawful activities under international law. Such flights will likewise enable us to reach our municipality,” Abella said in a statement.
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Abella said the visit was also in line with the government’s aim to improve the quality of life of Filipinos in the island.
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“The visit of the Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to Pag-asa Island is part of the efforts to improve the safety, welfare, livelihood of Filipinos residing and living in the municipality of Kalayaan which is part of the province of Palawan,” the presidential spokesman said.
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China has used a similar argument to justify reclamation activities in the South China Sea.
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China challenges PAF planes

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While on its way to Pag-asa, the military plane carrying Lorenzana and military officials were warned by Chinese forces to leave the area but the pilot insisted that they were in Philippine airspace.
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Lorenzana has downplayed the incident, saying Philippine air assets conducting resupply operations usually receive warnings from Chinese forces.
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During President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to China last October, Manila and Beijing agreed to hold dialogues on the South China Sea dispute, a move that Chinese officials claimed signaled the “full recovery” of the friendship between the two countries.
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The Duterte administration’s decision to hold dialogues with China on the dispute is a departure from the policy of former President Benigno Aquino III, who preferred that the issue be tackled through multilateral channels.
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In 2013, the Philippines challenged the legality of China’s expansive claim in the South China Sea before an international arbitral tribunal in Hague.
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The court decided in favor of the Philippines last year, ruling that China’s maritime claim has no legal basis.
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China has refused to recognize the ruling, dismissing it as a “mere piece of paper” that would not affect its territorial rights.
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Duterte has said he is ready to set aside the arbitral ruling to enhance the Philippines’ ties with China. He stressed, though, that he would not bargain away the Philippines’ maritime claims and that there would be a time when he would bring up the arbitral ruling before the Chinese government.
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Related:
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 (The problem of Islamic rebels in the Philippines — Real or Not?)
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On July 12, 2016 a ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said China’s nine-dash line claim (shown above) was invalid and not recognized in international law.

Despite all this:

Philippines: Duterte Says He Can Be 50 Times More Brutal Than Terrorists

April 23, 2017

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine president has warned that he can be 50 times more brutal than Muslim extremists, saying he’d even eat them if they’re captured alive by troops.

President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly threatened drug suspects with death, but he raised his shock rhetoric to a new level Sunday when he said in a speech during the opening of a national sports tournament what he could do to terrorists who have staged beheadings and other gruesome attacks.

Duterte ordered troops to kill fleeing Muslim militants behind a foiled attack in the central resort province of Bohol, calling the extremists “animals.”

He said he can “go down what you can 50 times over … just give me vinegar and salt, I’ll eat his liver.”

China to probe alleged harassment of Filipino fishermen

April 22, 2017

Fishermen said they were driven off by shooting. Chinese Coast Guard said they fired warning shots….

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South China Sea (Xinhua – MANILA BULLETIN)

 (philstar.com) |

BEIJING (Philippines News Agency) – China will also look into reports that Filipino fishermen have been driven away allegedly by the Chinese Coast Guard from Union Bank in the South China Sea, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said Friday.

“I honestly do not know anything about what you said. You yourself mentioned that the vessels are unidentified, and all sides are in the process of verifying the situation. China also needs to check on that,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang said during a press conference.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China was alarmed, angered by Philippine government, military visit to Pag-asa Island in the South China Sea. File photo. Peace and Freedom screengrab

The Philippines’ foreign affairs and national defense departments are still confirming media reports on the harassment of the Filipino fishermen.

Lu said China will continue to work with the Philippine side to “properly” resolve the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea maritime and territorial dispute under the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Our position on the South China Sea issue is consistent and clear. We would go on working with the Philippine side to properly deal with relevant maritime issues and create favorable conditions for the sound and steady development of bilateral relations,” he said.

He reiterated that the bilateral relations between the Philippines and China have turned around and started to improve quickly “with all-around cooperation moving forward steadily”.

Five months after his election, Duterte visited China in October last year at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Duterte is scheduled to return to Beijing next month to participate in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.

“Overall, both sides are able to build upon the consensus of the two leaders and manage maritime issues through negotiations and coordination,” Lu said.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/04/22/1692803/china-probe-alleged-harassment-filipino-fishermen

Related:

 (Contains links to related articles)

Philippines: Presidential Spokesman Calls 7,000 Extrajudicial Killings “Fake News” (It’s actually more like 9,000) — Further Erodes Credibility of Philippine Government, Philippine National Police (PNP)

April 21, 2017
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella called reports on more than 7,000 extralegal killings “false news.” PCOO/King Rodriguez

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesperson on Friday called reports of nearly 9,000 drug-related deaths “false news,” months after media organizations and international groups used the figure in their reports.

Ernesto Abella, the presidential spokesperson, said that the persistent reports of more 7,000 killed, which is now said to be nearly 9,000, was “false news” as the Philippine National Police (PNP) said that the figure was much lower.

“On the number of extrajudicial deaths, the persistent news reports of 7,000 killed, which is now being said to be close to 9,000, is false,” Abella said.

The president’s spokesperson said that based on official police data there were only 6,011 homicide cases being investigated. Of the figure, only 1,398 cases were found to be drug related, contrary to reports that 9,000 have already been killed in anti-illegal drugs operations, Abella said.

Abella, meanwhile, called on organizations which report on drug incidents to be fair and not to rush to judgment as he emphasized that people appreciated the changes being implemented by the administration and the way these were carried out.

“We ask to be understood not just from a single perspective, but from the point of view of Filipinos who desire change, stability and fairness,” Abella said.

The number of murders and homicide cases, however, have risen dramatically at the start of the Duterte administration last year despite government’s denial that they are related to the brutal war on drugs. Drug experts also acknowledge that stringent law enforcement policy against narcotics have historically resulted in unnecessary violence and deaths.

Abella’s comments came days after a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed that public satisfaction with the government’s conduct of the war on drugs plunging by 11 points, from +77 in December 2016 to +66 in March 2017.

He also assuaged American concern on the increasing extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, saying that those who breached protocol would be made to account.

“We share the concern of US Assistant Secretary of State for Southeast Asia Patrick Murphy, who has been quoted in the media saying ‘there are elements of the drug war that are operating outside the rule of law,’” the spokesperson said.

Abella said that the PNP has an Internal Affairs Service which would probe into cases of police violations.

“This body can suspend or dismiss PNP personnel based on violations incurred and can recommend the filing of criminal charges,” he said.

He said that security forces followed procedures in conducting their operations although force may be used to protect the safety of the police.

“Local authorities follow operation protocols and the proper enforcement of our laws requires the use of reasonable force merited by the attendant circumstances,” he said.

Not a single cop, however, has been accused by police investigators before a court of unjustifiably killing drug suspects in police operations. President Rodrigo Duterte himself said he will defend and pardon cops accused of wrongdoing in the field.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/04/21/1692511/abella-calls-7000-extrajudicial-killings-fake-news

Related:

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Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl — killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs — looks like it has been put out with the trash….. Presidential spokeman Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

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Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kline also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

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Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/07/08/1600763/cop-linked-drugs-tortured-killed

 (December 23, 2016)

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 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

 

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High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

 

 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa
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Crime scene investigators examine a vehicle used by two drug suspects killed during an alleged shootout with officers along NIA Road in Quezon City on June 21, 2016. JOVEN CAGANDE/file
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President Rodrigo Duterte's crusade against drug users and dealers is controversial

 

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry's Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry’s Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Health officials closed Henry's Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Health officials closed Henry’s Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Who isn’t troubled by the growing number of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines? Paid assassins, vigilante killings — How many in the Philippines are operating outside the rule of law?

April 21, 2017

Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States said on Thursday it was troubled by the growing number of extrajudicial killings in Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs and called on Manila to stick to its commitment to investigate them.

Close to 9,000 people, mostly drug users and small-time dealers, have been killed since Duterte took office almost 10 months ago and promised an unrelenting campaign to rid the Philippines of illicit narcotics.

Police say about a third of the victims were shot by officers in self-defence. Human rights groups believe many of the remaining two thirds were killed by paid assassins cooperating with the police or by police themselves, disguised as vigilantes. The government and police reject that.

Patrick Murphy, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Southeast Asia, said the United States shared Manila’s objective of eliminating the scourge of illicit drugs and wanted to help.

“We however do have a very sustained and deep concern when elements of the drug war are operating outside the rule of law,” Murphy told reporters. “The growing number of extrajudicial killings is troubling.”

Rights advocates were concerned when U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sidestepped questions about extrajudicial killings in the Philippines during his January confirmation hearing, raising the possibility that President Donald Trump might take a softer line on the issue than his predecessor, President Barack Obama.

Murphy said there was a distinction between being a nominee and the secretary of state and Tillerson was now the leader of the policy of expressing concern about the way the drug war was being waged.

“We are urging the Philippines to follow up on its commitment to investigate extrajudicial killings whether they are committed by law enforcement, or of a vigilante nature,” he said.

Earlier on Thursday, Duterte’s office rejected allegations by two senior police officers in a Reuters report that police received cash rewards for executing drug suspects, while the most high-profile critic of the president backed the officers’ claims.

Duterte was infuriated by U.S. expressions of concern about extrajudicial killings after he took office last year and threatened to sever the long-standing U.S. defence alliance.

Duterte spoke positively about Trump, a fellow populist, after the U.S. presidential election in November, although his anti-U.S. rhetoric continued.

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Related:

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 (Contains links to related articles)
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Image may contain: outdoor
Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl — killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs — looks like it has been put out with the trash….. Presidential spokeman Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.