Posts Tagged ‘Ronald dela Rosa’

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:

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

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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

Philippines: National Police killings ‘committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population’ — ‘Reign of terror’ — ‘Extermination’ — Insiders talking to evidence gatherers for the International Criminal Court

April 18, 2017
At least 39 people were killed in police operations during Holy Week as Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa proved true to his word that there would be no Lenten break in the war on drugs. AP/Bullit Marquez, file
  • Almost 9,000 people killed since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in June
  • Two senior officials have claimed that police orchestrated many of those killings 
  • Police paid to kill drug suspects and – for 10,000 pesos ($200) a head – rapists, pickpockets, swindlers, gang members, alcoholics and other ‘troublemakers’

The Philippine police have given bonuses for killing drug suspects, planted evidence at crime scenes and carried out most of the murders they blamed on vigilantes, said two senior officers.

The officials, who are critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘war on drugs,’ challenged the government’s explanations of the killings in interviews.

Almost 9,000 people, many small-time users and dealers, have been killed since Duterte took office on June 30. Police say about a third of the victims were shot by officers in self-defence during legitimate anti-drug operations.

Human rights monitors believe the remaining two thirds were killed by paid assassins working with police or by police disguised as vigilantes – a charge the police deny.

Philippine police have received cash payments for executing drug suspects, planted evidence at crime scenes and carried out most of the killings they have long blamed on vigilantes, claim officials critical of President Rodrigo Duterte's (pictured) 'war on drugs'

Philippine police have received cash payments for executing drug suspects, planted evidence at crime scenes and carried out most of the killings they have long blamed on vigilantes, claim officials critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s (pictured) ‘war on drugs’

The two senior officers, one a retired police intelligence officer and the other an active-duty commander, claimed the killings are in fact orchestrated by the police, including most of those carried out by vigilantes. They spoke on the condition of anonymity.

‘It is the Philippine National Police doing it,’ said the retired intelligence officer.

‘This killing machine must be buried six feet under the ground.’ He said he was angry about the impact of the killings on police discipline and wanted ‘to put Duterte on the defensive.’ Reuters was unable to independently verify if the police are behind vigilante killings.

The president’s office and the Philippine police did not respond to questions from Reuters.

The intelligence officer has authored an unpublished 26-page report on the conduct of the drug war in an effort to organize opposition to Duterte’s campaign.

The report, titled ‘The State-Sponsored Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines,’ provides granular detail on the campaign’s alleged methods, masterminds and perpetrators. The document has been shared with leaders of the Catholic Church in the Philippines and with the government-funded Commission on Human Rights.

Some of the report’s accusations against individuals could not be confirmed by Reuters; the news agency is therefore not publishing the full document.

Many of its findings, however, support and expand upon previous investigations of the drug war by Reuters and independent human rights monitors.

Human rights monitors believe paid assassins operating with police backing or by police disguised as vigilantes killed two thirds of the 9,000 people who have died since June 30 - a charge police deny

Human rights monitors believe paid assassins operating with police backing or by police disguised as vigilantes killed two thirds of the 9,000 people who have died since June 30 – a charge police deny

The report claims that police are paid to kill not just drug suspects, but also – for 10,000 pesos ($200) a head – rapists, pickpockets, swindlers, gang members, alcoholics and other ‘troublemakers.’

It also claims that civilian members of the so-called Davao Death Squad, which rights activists allege killed hundreds of people in Duterte’s hometown of Davao, were drafted to ‘augment and assist’ the police’s current nationwide anti-drug operation.

The report doesn’t provide documentary evidence for its accusations, which the intelligence officer said were based on accounts from 17 serving or former policemen, including the commander Reuters interviewed. The police commander said he agreed to talk because he was upset that authorities are targeting only petty drug suspects. ‘Why aren’t they killing the suppliers?’ he asked. ‘Only the poor are dying.’

The second half of the report is largely political in nature, asserting that Duterte has close ties to Communist forces in the Philippines. Many in the military and police are concerned by what they see as Duterte’s leftist sympathies. Since taking office, the president has released Communist rebels from prison to restart peace talks.

The report also calls the drug war a ‘social cleansing’ campaign similar to that launched in Mao Zedong’s China, with Duterte aiming to have drug addicts ‘physically eliminated.’

The Commission on Human Rights has reviewed the report and the accounts could open up new leads in ongoing investigations, said chairman Chito Gascon. Church officials confirmed receiving the report as well.

A report claims that police are paid to kill not just drug suspects, but also - for 10,000 pesos ($200) a head - rapists, pickpockets, swindlers, gang members, alcoholics and other 'troublemakers' (pictured, police interrogating local residents in operation against drugs

A report claims that police are paid to kill not just drug suspects, but also – for 10,000 pesos ($200) a head – rapists, pickpockets, swindlers, gang members, alcoholics and other ‘troublemakers’ (pictured, police interrogating local residents in operation against drugs

‘We should do all we can to follow any lead that could ultimately shed light on these killings with the view to ultimately holding the perpetrators to account,’ said Gascon.

The fresh claims come amid growing criticism of the drug war. In February, the country’s influential Catholic Church called it a ‘reign of terror.’ The campaign has also sparked street protests and lawsuits.

Duterte’s police chief, Ronald Dela Rosa, halted police operations for most of February after it emerged that an anti-drug unit had kidnapped and murdered a South Korean businessman last year. The killings continued but at a slower pace. On March 6, Dela Rosa announced that the police were resuming their drug operations.

In March, a former policeman, Arturo Lascanas, testified in the Philippine Senate about his role in vigilante-style killings in the southern city of Davao, where Duterte was once mayor. Lascanas was the second Senate witness to link Duterte to the Davao Death Squad. Duterte denies ordering any killings, either as president or mayor.

In a subsequent interview, Lascanas told Reuters that for over a decade he was paid for carrying out the liquidation of drug suspects and criminals. In the early 1990s, he said, he was paid 3,000 to 5,000 pesos ($60-$100) for each of the ‘jobs’ he performed.

By the early 2000s he was earning tens of thousands of pesos for each operation, he said. Lascanas said he had no documentary proof of the payments. He has since left the country.

In the past nine months, police acknowledge having shot dead more than 2,600 suspects during their operations. They say such shootings occur after suspects open fire on undercover officers trying to catch them dealing drugs.

It also claims that civilian members of the so-called Davao Death Squad, which rights activists allege killed hundreds of people in Duterte's hometown of Davao, were drafted to 'augment and assist' the police's current nationwide anti-drug operation. Pictured, Duterte with Trade Secretary Liam Fox)

It also claims that civilian members of the so-called Davao Death Squad, which rights activists allege killed hundreds of people in Duterte’s hometown of Davao, were drafted to ‘augment and assist’ the police’s current nationwide anti-drug operation. Pictured, Duterte with UK Trade Secretary Liam Fox

But these so-called ‘buy-busts’ are actually well-planned executions, said the commander interviewed by Reuters. The commander said targets are chosen from lists of suspects drawn up by police and local officials, who later coordinate to unplug security cameras in the neighbourhood where a killing is planned. According to the report, street lamps are also switched off.

‘There is no such thing as a legitimate buy-bust,’ the commander said. ‘The dealers know the cops and won’t sell to them.’

Instead, he said, a team of police operatives will execute the target, who is almost always unarmed, then plant guns and drugs at the crime scene to justify the use of deadly force.

‘We have to plant evidence for the legality of the operation,’ the commander said. ‘We are ordered to do these operations, so we have to protect ourselves.’

The commander said officers put the gun in the dead suspect’s hand and pull the trigger with the victim’s finger so forensic testing will show that the suspect fired a gun.

Late last year, he said, police crime-scene investigators told their fellow officers to place the guns at a slight distance from the suspects, rather than in their hands, to make things look more realistic.

Most drug suspects in his precinct are shot by rookie cops who are either eager for the experience or nominated by their superiors, the commander said. The superiors refer to this as a ‘baptism by fire.’

Each member of the team is quickly paid according to two factors, said the commander: his role in the killing and the target’s value.

According to the report, the cash ‘reward scales’ for drug killings range from 20,000 pesos ($400) for a ‘street level pusher and user,’ to 50,000 pesos for a member of a neighborhood council, one million pesos for ‘distributors, retailers and wholesalers,’ and five million for ‘drug lords.’

Police officers kill for money, said the commander, but also out of fear: Even the police are afraid of being included on a ‘watch list’ of drug suspects drawn up by police and local officials.

Officials have been killed for not cooperating, he added. He said he was aware of two cases but did not provide details on exactly what happened.

Most drug suspects in his precinct are shot by rookie cops who are either eager for the experience or nominated by their superiors, the commander said. Pictured, armed Filipino policemen stand guard next to the wall of a prison facility

Most drug suspects in his precinct are shot by rookie cops who are either eager for the experience or nominated by their superiors, the commander said. Pictured, armed Filipino policemen stand guard next to the wall of a prison facility

Reuters reported last year that the watch lists were effectively hit lists, with many of those named ending up dead. Another Reuters investigation showed that police officers were killing 97 percent of the suspects they confront in violent buy-bust operations, the strongest evidence yet that the police were summarily executing suspects.

Officers also cooperate because they know the police force’s flawed disciplinary system, which fails to adequately investigate even a fraction of the killings, means there is little chance they will get caught, said the intelligence officer.

One sign of the drug war’s success, says the government, is that more than a million users and pushers have voluntarily registered with the police, a process known as ‘surrendering.’

But the commander said police are given a quota of ‘surrenderers,’ and fill it by using city ordinances to arrest men who are drunk or shirtless – a misdemeanor known as ‘half-naked’ – then forcing them to register as drug suspects.

Reuters learned of the intelligence officer’s 26-page report from him and interviewed two Catholic priests in Manila who said they had encouraged him to compile it. One of the priests said he edited the report; the other said he helped distribute it among a small group of clerics and human rights activists. Both are helping organize opposition to Duterte’s drug campaign.

The Church’s initial reluctance to criticize Duterte’s drug war was prompted by a desire to ‘give him a chance’ when he took office, said one of the priests. But the killings, along with the president’s overtures to Communists, made many in the Church feel their values were under attack, he said.

The intelligence officer said he hoped the report would be used as evidence at the International Criminal Court. In October, the Hague-based tribunal said it could prosecute suspects if the killings were ‘committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4421430/Police-kill-rewards-staged-crime-scenes-Dutertes-drug-war.html#ixzz4ecS4W7LE
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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)

Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl looks like it has been put out with the trash…..
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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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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

Philippines: 39 dead in Holy Week drug war

April 17, 2017
At least 39 people were killed in police operations during Holy Week as Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa proved true to his word that there would be no Lenten break in the war on drugs. AP/Bullit Marquez, file

MANILA, Philippines – At least 39 people were killed in police operations during Holy Week as Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa proved true to his word that there would be no Lenten break in the war on drugs.

The PNP National Monitoring Center reported a total of 131 persons killed during operations against illegal drugs from March 1 to April 16 or in the last 47 days.

Of that number, 39 were killed in the government campaign in the last nine days or from April 7 to 16. This brought the average to four deaths daily.

In the report, 92 people were killed – an average of 2.4 individuals per day – since the PNP conducted Oplan Double Barrel Reloaded from March 1 to April 7.

Although the Roman Catholic church started observing the Holy Week on April 9, Palm Sunday, Dela Rosa warned drug pushers and addicts that the war against illegal drugs would continue.

“No, it won’t stop. Continuous, no letup,” said Dela Rosa, who was quick to clarify that he neither encourages nor discourages any police officer who chooses to do certain Catholic practices, like carrying the cross or performing similar acts of penitence, which he considers a “personal vocation according to their own volition.”

“If they want to do it, go ahead,” the police chief said.

Of the 131 drug personalities killed, 44 were from Central Luzon; 24, National Capital Region (NCR); 17, Southern Tagalog; 8, Central Visayas; 6, Western Mindanao; 5, Eastern Visayas; 5, Central Mindanao; and 4, Bicol.

The regions of Western Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Southern Mindanao, Caraga and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) each had three people killed while the Ilocos, Cagayan Valley and Negros have one each.

Under Oplan High-Value Target Revalidated, police operatives conducted 6,025 operations and arrested a total of 9,692 drug personalities. Most of them were from NCR (2,122) and Southern Tagalog (2,089).

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/04/17/1691058/39-dead-holy-week-drug-war

Philippines: Five dead as militants attack tourist island — A caliphate emerging in southern Philippines is unlikely — We think

April 11, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | Philippine soldiers have clashed with suspected militants of Abu Sayyaf, which has long engaged in kidnapping for ransom, on the tourist Island called Bohol

MANILA (AFP) – 

Five people including a Philippine police officer were killed Tuesday in clashes with 10 suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf kidnap group on the resort island of Bohol, authorities said.

Five bodies have been recovered at the scene of the fighting, Philippine military spokesman Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said on ABS-CBN television in Manila.

At least one policeman was confirmed killed in the fight, national police spokesman Senior Superintendent Dionardo Carlos said in a statement.

“Security forces reported that the armed group is well-armed with heavy-calibre weapons, but now cornered in an isolated section” of Bohol, Philippine military chief of staff General Eduardo Ano said in a statement.

The incursion would be the first on the tourist island by the Abu Sayyaf, which has long engaged in kidnapping for ransom — often targeting foreigners.

American, Australian and Korean tourists often visited — A resort in Cebu, central Philippines

The group, also blamed for deadly bombings, has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State movement that holds large swathes of Iraq and Syria.

The gunmen sailed into the Bohol town of Inabanga on Monday, going upriver toward a remote section of the island aboard three fast boats, Inabanga police officer Edwin Melicor told AFP by telephone.

A clash broke out as police went to investigate early Tuesday, Melicor added.

Related:

Image result for Bohol town of Inabanga, philippines, map

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An Australian think tank said that the likelihood of an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) caliphate in Mindanao is low after Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop expressed concern over this possibility over the weekend. The think tank said extremism is the more serious issue facing the governments in the region.

AP/Aaron Favila

Read more at http://beta.philstar.com/headlines/2017/03/29/1684090/five-reasons-we-should-worry-about-extremism-mindanao#58KBReQS3XEFRzhC.99

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5 dead as PH troops, Abu suspects clash in Bohol

, / 02:26 PM April 11, 2017

Five people including a police officer were killed Tuesday in clashes with 10 suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf kidnap group on the resort island of Bohol, authorities said.

Five bodies have been recovered at the scene of the fighting, Philippine military spokesman Brigadier-General Restituto Padilla said on ABS-CBN television in Manila.

The Associated Press, citing military and police officials, however, reported at least 6 fatalities.

At least one policeman was confirmed killed in the fight, national police spokesman Senior Superintendent Dionardo Carlos said in a statement.

“Security forces reported that the armed group is well-armed with heavy-caliber weapons, but now cornered in an isolated section” of Bohol, Philippine military chief of staff General Eduardo Año said in a statement.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs chief Edgard Arevalo said elements from the Army, the Bohol Provincial Office, and the Regional Public Safety Battalion were acting on “received intelligence information” in its operation against a group of men “well-armed with heavy caliber weapons.”

The firefight happened as the United States Embassy in Manila, citing “unsubstantiated yet credible information,” warned Americans in the Philippines against kidnapping threats by terror groups in Central Visayas, particularly Cebu and Bohol.

READ: US Embassy airs travel warning over Central Visayas

“The security operation was launched in relation to the monitored presence of ten (10) armed men with three pump boats along the riverside of So Ilaya, Barangay (village) Napo in the area of Inabanga, Bohol. The information came from alert residents and other citizens who were watching over their respective communities. Security forces reported that the armed group is well armed with heavy caliber weapons but now cornered in an isolated section of the sitio,” Arevalo said in a statement.

“Additional forces from the Army, Air Force and the Navy are now onsite to assist engaged AFP personnel and law enforcers. Fire fight is still ongoing as of this time,” he added.

The incursion would be the first on the tourist island by the Abu Sayyaf, which has long engaged in kidnapping for ransom — often targeting foreigners.

The group, also blamed for deadly bombings, has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State movement that holds large swathes of Iraq and Syria.

The gunmen sailed into the Bohol town of Inabanga on Monday, going upriver toward a remote section of the island aboard three fast boats, Inabanga police officer Edwin Melicor told Agence France-Presse by telephone.

A clash broke out as police went to investigate early Tuesday, Melicor added.

The Philippine National Police, through its Dir. Gen. Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, earlier confirmed terrorist threats to kidnap tourists in Central Visayas but assured the public that government security forces were on top of the situation. Following the US Embassy’s travel advisory, the Australian government also advised its citizens in the country to exercise a “high degree of caution” due to “high threat of terrorist attack and the high level of crime.” With a report from the Associated Press/rga

Image may contain: 2 people, closeup
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa (R) during a press conference in Manila on January 30, 2017. POOL/AFP / NOEL CELIS

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/888364/cop-dead-as-armed-men-attack-bohol-resort

READ: PNP confirms terror threat in C. Visayas

READ:

Police-military team, 10 armed men clash in Bohol – report

Armed men sighted in Bohol town; Firefight with govt troops ongoing

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/888364/cop-dead-as-armed-men-attack-bohol-resort#ixzz4dvQZh7DV
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Philippines: Process of What Many Call Police “Executions” of Drug Users, Pushers Resumes — Philippine Military Now Assisting Police — Mom, Dad Killed, Nine-Year-Old Daughter Wounded, Eight Others Dead

March 7, 2017

Drug suspect, wife killed in Lanao del Sur raid

Anto was one of five targets of simultaneous anti-narcotics operations in the adjoining Barangays Bato-Bato and Malingon in Maguing and in Marawi City. Bing Maps
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LANAO DEL SUR, Philippines — Authorities shot dead a wanted drug lord and his wife in an encounter in Maguing town in Lanao del Sur on Tuesday.
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Senior Supt. Oscar Nantes, Lanao del Sur provincial police director, identified the fatalities as Cairodin Anto and his wife, Farhana, who both died on the spot from multiple gunshot wounds.
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Anto was one of five targets of simultaneous joint police-military anti-narcotics operations in the adjoining Barangays Bato-Bato and Malingon in Maguing and in Marawi City that started before dawn on Tuesday.
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Marawi City is the capital of Lanao del Sur and Maguing is located in the first district of the province.
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Authorities said that instead of yielding peacefully, the Anto couple opened fire at the raiding teams that approached from different directions their hideout in Maguing, sparking a gunfight that led to their deaths.
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Their nine-year-old daughter was wounded in the crossfire and is now undergoing medication in a hospital.
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The law enforcement operation in Maguing was also aimed at arresting suspected drug dealers Baulo Anto and Sultan Abdullah Pundugar, who also both escaped.
Authorities recovered firearms and shabu in the abandoned hideouts.
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Nantes said the encounter in Maguing left Navy Seaman 1 Jomar Agustin and Seaman 2 Jay Hansel Rebadonia wounded.
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Town vice mayor among drug suspects
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Nantes said among the five they were to serve a warrant of arrest was Maguing’s incumbent vice mayor, Gambao Abinal and his brother, Hakim.
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He said police and military agents failed to corner them in the vice mayor’s house in Marawi City but recovered assorted firearms and shabu hidden in its rooms.
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The separate operations in Maguing and Marawi City were carried out jointly by personnel of the Police Regional Office-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, the Lanao del Sur provincial police office, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, and personnel from the Philippine Army, the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.
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Nantes said there is a possibility that lookouts could have warned Abinal of the raid just as the raiding teams, backed by soldiers from the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade, began surrounding his house in Marawi City.
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8 drug suspects killed as police rejoin drug war
In this Friday Sept. 6, 2016 photo, media train their cameras towards funeral service workers carrying the body of an alleged drug suspect after he and his companion were killed by police as they tried to evade a checkpoint as part of the continuing “War on Drugs” campaign of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte in Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines. AP/Aaron Favila

MANILA, Philippines — Police  killed eight crime suspects in separate gunbattles and arrested 21 others in a northern province Tuesday, a day after police were allowed to rejoin the president’s deadly anti-drug crackdown while also launching a drive against illegal guns.

Police Senior Superintendent Romeo Caramat Jr. said the suspects were killed or arrested in 19 raids in Bulacan, some of whom turned violent when policemen were fired upon. He said most of the slain suspects had links to illegal drugs.

President Rodrigo Duterte angrily banned the national police more than a month ago from enforcing his anti-drug crackdown, which has left thousands of suspects dead, after some antinarcotics officers were implicated in an extortion bid that left a South Korean businessman dead.

Philippine National Police chief Director-General Ronald Dela Rosa, however, announced Monday that the 170,000-strong police force was being redrafted to enforce the campaign after the police’s brief absence sparked a resurgence in illegal drug trade in many communities.

“We cannot turn our back in this fight because the future of succeeding generations depends on how well we fight the war on drugs today,” Dela Rosa said.

http://www.philstar.com/nation/2017/03/07/1678870/8-drug-suspects-killed-police-rejoin-drug-war

Philippines urged to condemn, investigate extrajudicial killings

March 2, 2017
Police crime scene investigators under Jones Bridge in Binondo, Manila after police shot dead suspected drug dealers Cyril Raymundo, Eduardo Aquino and Edgar Cumbis in a “buy-bust” operation. December 5, 2016. Human Rights Watch/Carlo Gabuco
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MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government should denounce extrajudicial killings and have them investigated while temporarily suspending buy-bust operations that can lead to unlawful deaths, international watchdog Human Rights Watch said in a new report.
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These were HRW’s recommendations to President Rodrigo Duterte, the Department of Justice and the Philippine National Police to address a rise in extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.
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According to the HRW report ‘License to Kill’, President Duterte, the DOJ and the PNP may be held responsible for instigating and committing unlawful acts against the citizens of the Philippines.
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“International law holds an individual criminally responsible if they plan, instigate, order commit or otherwise aid and abet a criminal offense. Instigating means prompting another to commit an offense that is actually committed,” HRW said in its report.
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Denounce extrajudicial killings
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HRW said the president should publicly denounce the extrajudicial killings that have been linked to the government’s war on drugs.
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The Palace as well as Duterte himself have more than once denied that the the state sanctions the killings of drug suspects but have stressed that police and military personnel are authorized to use force in self-defense. More than 2,500 deaths have been attributed to drug suspects shooting it out with the police.
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Duterte has frequently said, however, that those who deal drugs will die and that the last drug pusher and drug lord have been arrested or killed.
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HRW also pointed out how President Duterte has backed the police and has promised to protect them for carrying out the anti-drug campaign. Superintendent Marvin Marcos, a senior police officer implicated in the death of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa while in government custody last November was relieved and then reinstated on the same day.
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The human rights group also called on the president order investigations into possible abuses in the drug war.
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PNP Director General Ronald Dela Rosa has in the past said that investigations would “dampen the morale” of the officers, while Solicitor General Jose Calida has reiterated his support for the war on drugs.
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“I am here to encourage the PNP not to be afraid of any congressional or Senate investigations. We will defend them [the police]. If there is a ‘fiscalizer,’ I am the neutralizer and the defender of the PNP,” Calida said in July 2016.
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“As noted, since Duterte has taken office, not a single police officer has been arrested let alone prosecuted for their role in an alleged extrajudicial killing of a drug suspect,” HRW said.
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The group also asked Duterte to direct the Office of the Ombudsman and the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct inquiries and publicly report any involvement of the PNP in unlawful killings.
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The HRW also asked the president to allow the United Nations special rapporteur and other UN experts to investigate the extrajudicial killings without interference or restrictions.
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Investigate alleged extrajudicial killings
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HRW meanwhile recommended that Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II direct the National Bureau of Investigation to “impartially and transparently” investigate and prosecute alleged extrajudicial killings and other abuses during anti-drug operations.
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The group also suggested the creation of hotlines to receive information on alleged killings and to direct the NBI to make full use of the Witness Protection, Security, and Benefit Act to ensure the safety of witnesses and of families of victims of unlawful killings.
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HRW added that the DOJ should adopt measures or mechanisms for the victims and families to file a complaint or offer testimonies safely with due process by allowing them to do so by live videos or in courtrooms closed to the public.
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Suspend buy-bust operations
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The HRW also called on the PNP to temporarily suspend buy-bust operations until measures to prevent unlawful killings and abuses are in place.
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Several relatives of those killed told HRW that those killed were described as dealers attempting to sell to undercover officers conducting the operations even if they did not sell drugs.
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HRW, citing reports and witness accounts, said some of the buy-bust operations may not have happened since police officers knocked down doors before the supposed shootouts. The group notes that one witness even told the group that a police officer was seen planting evidence in one of their operations.
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The group also called for the proper preservation of evidence from drug-related deaths as well as an independent inspection of the collected evidence.
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The group also asked the PNP to list those killed in police operations and those supposedly murdered by vigilante killings separately. HRW, in its report, said that it could not find any distinction in the cases investigated.
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The Philippine National Police already tallies those who are supposedly killed in shootouts separately from “deaths under investigation.”
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“In several cases we investigated, the police dismissed allegations of involvement and instead classified such killings as “found bodies” or “deaths under investigation” when only hours before the suspects had been in police custody,” HRW said.
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Related:
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Philippines: President Rodrigo Duterte could be held liable for crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch says

March 2, 2017
The body of a suspected drug dealer killed after an alleged shootout with police in Caloocan, Metro Manila, September 9, 2016. Human Rights Watch/ Carlo Gabuco
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 (philstar.com) |

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte could be held liable for crimes against humanity for abetting an atmosphere of death that has killed thousands in his campaign to rid the country of illegal drugs, according to a report by an international human rights group.

In its report “License to Kill,” Human Rights Watch criticized the president and his senior government officials for what it said is their culpability in drug-related killings that have left more than 7,000 people dead.

Although there was is no evidence so far that the chief executive himself planned or ordered specific extrajudicial killings, the group believes that there are sufficient grounds for Duterte, Philippine National Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa, Solictor General Jose Calida and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to be held criminally responsible.

“Even if not directly involved in any specific operations to summarily execute any specific individual, President Duterte appears to have instigated unlawful acts by the police, incited citizens to commit serious violence, and made himself criminal liable under international law for the unlawful killings as a matter of command responsibility,” HRW said in its report.

“Other senior leaders of his administration have likewise made themselves criminally culpable for their alleged complicity in unlawful killings,” it also said.

HRW said that the president’s incessant calls encouraging the killing of alleged drug dealers and users showed a government policy to attack a specific civilian population.

It said that Duterte and his officials could be held liable for crimes against humanity, instigation of violence and murder and superior responsibility.

The group noted that the attacks had been systematic as shown by the “repeated, unchanging and continuous nature of the violence” demonstrated by police officers.

“With respect to possible crimes against humanity, the repeated calls by President Duterte encouraging the killing of alleged drug dealers and users is indicative of a government policy to attack a specific civilian population,” the report said. “Information on specific cases gathered by the media and non-governmental organizations including Human Rights Watch show this attack to be widespread.”

“Any killings of drug suspects by police with an awareness of such a policy or plan would amount to crimes against humanity, for which senior officials could be held responsible as a matter of superior responsibility.”

‘Duterte statements encourage vigilantes’

The group said that the president’s statements that have been interpreted by critics as encouraging the killings as part of the anti-drug campaign could be considered an act instigating the crime of murder.

“In addition, Duterte’s statements that seek to encourage vigilantes among the general population to commit violence against suspected drug users would constitute incitement to violence,” it said.

The group also said that the president could not bank on ignorance on the actions of his subordinates as a defense. It said that the doctrine of superior responsibility would impose criminal liability on officials for the illegal acts of their subordinates where the superior knew or had reason to know of the unlawful acts and failed to prevent or punish those acts.

“The unlawful killings being carried out by police forces ultimately under Duterte’s command have repeatedly been brought to his attention by the media, the United Nations, foreign governments. and domestic and international nongovernmental organizations, including Human Rights Watch. His public comments in response to those allegations are evidence that he knows about them,” HRW said.

The group also criticized Duterte for failing to take any step to prevent or punish those responsible for the killings. Instead the president encouraged these actions the group claimed.

HRW said: “As his continuing public statements make clear, he has discounted the illegality of police actions, showing no inclination or intent to investigate alleged crimes. As noted, since Duterte has taken office, not a single police officer has been arrested let alone prosecuted for their role in an alleged extrajudicial killing of a drug suspect.”

According to the group, Duterte’s statements when he was still a candidate for the presidency and since taking office have indicated his and his senior officials’ intent to use the country’s law enforcement agencies to engage in extrajudicial killings of suspects.

“These statements are only a sample of those made by Duterte and other senior officials during the presidential campaign and since taking office that indicate an intent to use the country’s law enforcement agencies to engage in extrajudicial killings of criminal suspects rather than treat them in accordance with Philippine and international law,” the group said in its report.

‘Dela Rosa, Calida, Aguirre also liable’

The report also delved into the criminal responsibility of Dela Rosa, Calida and Aguirre.

It said that while the president himself led calls for the use of violence in his drug war, these senior government officials also urged similar killings, effectively blocking meaningful efforts to investigate police killings of suspected drug dealers and users.

The report said Dela Rosa, a longtime Duterte ally and his police chief during his similar drug war when he was still mayor of Davao City, encouraged vigilante killings against drug dealers.

“On August 27, 2016, he told a gathering of thousands of surrendering drug users: ‘Let us help each other. But don’t forget those drug lords. They know where they will go. You want me to kill them? I’ll kill them. You can them [also] because you are the victims. Pour gasoline on their houses and burn them. Show your anger,’” the report narrated.

The chief of the national police also attacked the Senate’s effort to probe into the killings as “legal harassment.” He claimed that such investigations would “dampen the morale” of the police.

The country’s top government lawyer, Calida also excoriated the Senate effort and branded it as an effort to get “media mileage.”

Aguirre, the Justice secretary, meanwhile refused to investigate the deaths in the wake of the government’s war on drugs.

He also dismissed without investigation police involvement in extrajudicial killings and claimed that police officers only killed armed suspects. He also blamed many of the deaths on drug dealers themselves because they were afraid that their subordinates would squeal on them.

HRW also warned that even if government agents suspected to be involved were not prosecuted or given immunity by the president they could still be held liable by international courts, including the International Criminal Court.

“Foreign courts acting on the basis of universal jurisdiction or international criminal tribunals, including the International Criminal Court, are in no way bound by domestic grants of immunity, and may prosecute protected wrongdoers as well as officials implicated on grounds of superior responsibility,” it said.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/03/02/1677239/hrw-duterte-could-be-charged-crimes-vs-humanity

Philippine House to pass death penalty bill — Just a few miles away police kill alleged drug users with no rule of law in a campaign condemned by the world’s human rights organizations

March 1, 2017

Philippine House to pass death penalty bill on 2nd reading on Ash Wednesday

‘There is nothing wrong’ with striking out plunder under the bill since lawmakers may include the crime in future amendments to the law, says Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro

Published 10:16 AM, March 01, 2017
Updated 4:39 PM, March 01, 2017

SPEEDY DELIBERATIONS. The House of Representatives terminated the debate on the death penalty bill after only 7 session days. File photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

SPEEDY DELIBERATIONS. The House of Representatives terminated the debate on the death penalty bill after only 7 session days. File photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives is expected to pass on 2nd reading the controversial death penalty bill on Ash Wednesday, March 1, the day the predominantly Catholic Philippines marks the start of Lent.

On Tuesday, lawmakers approved amendments to House Bill (HB) Number 4727, which seeks to reimpose the death penalty for several drug-related crimes.

Should the 2nd reading vote push through on Wednesday, HB 4727 needs to go through the 3rd and final reading approval before the House transmits the measure to the Senate.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has denounced the House’s move to restore capital punishment in the country, saying “no person is beyond redemption.”

Congressmen agreed to give judges the option to punish perpetrators of heinous crimes with either life imprisonment or death.

Safeguard measures have also been added for the accused, the pro-death penalty lawmakers said, such as furnishing copies of information involving any offense punishable by death to the Commission on Human Rights, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and other religious and civic organizations.

The Public Attorney’s Office will also be mandated to only assign senior lawyers to those accused of crimes punishable by death.

Lawmakers removed rape, plunder, and treason from crimes covered under the bill and only retained the following drug offenses:

  • Importation of dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals
  • Sale, trading, administration, dispensation, delivery, distribution, and transportation of dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals
  • Maintenance of a drug den, dive, or resort
  • Manufacture of dangerous drugs and/or controlled precursors and essential chemicals
  • Cultivation or culture of plants classified as dangerous drugs or are sources thereof
  • Unlawful prescription of dangerous drugs
  • Criminal liability of a public officer or employee for misappropriation, misapplication, or failure to account for the confiscated, seized and/or surrendered dangerous drugs, plant sources of dangerous drugs, controlled precursors and essential chemicals, instruments/paraphernalia and/or laboratory equipment including the proceeds or properties obtained from the unlawful act committed
  • Criminal liability for planting evidence concerning illegal drugs

Critics of HB 4727 accused lawmakers of trying to save their own skins by removing plunder from the measure, since several incumbent lawmakers are facing plunder complaints. (READ: Plunder cases in the Philippines: Was anyone punished?)

Bill principal co-author and Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro reasoned that when he and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez wrote their version of the measure, plunder was included, along with 20 other crimes.

“But it so happened that there is a concession that if we are going to remove other crimes, we might as well remove the rest and only leave the crime related to drugs so that we could expedite the approval in support of the President’s program or war against drugs. There is nothing wrong with that,” said Castro.

“[This is so] because…we are not prevented from amending the law to include other crimes. What is only important at this point in time is to hasten the approval of drug-related cases that we love to be punished by death because we want to support the programs of the government in its war against drugs,” he added.

Opposition lawmakers have repeatedly accused the House leadership of rushing the passage of HB 4727 just because it is a legislative priority of President Rodrigo Duterte. (READ: Lagman on death penalty amendments: House leaders ignoring rules)

Alvarez, who wants the measure passed on 3rd and final reading by the 2nd week of March, threatened to replace House leaders if they vote against the bill. – Rappler.com

http://www.rappler.com/nation/162871-house-passage-death-penalty-bill-2nd-reading-ash-wednesday

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Philippines: Relaunched war on drugs will still be bloody, police promise

In this Sept. 5, 2016 photo, police inspect the site where alleged drug user Marcelo Salvador was shot dead by unidentified men in Las Pinas, south of Manila, Philippines. Drug dealers and drug addicts, were being shot by police or slain by unidentified gunmen in mysterious, gangland-style murders that were taking place at night. Salvador became a victim, the casualty of a vicious war on drugs that has claimed thousands of lives as part of a campaign by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. AP Photo/Aaron Favila

MANILA, Philippines — While he claims he does not want bloodshed, Philippine National Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa could not exclude the possibility of more deaths in a renewed campaign against illegal drugs.

At a press briefing at Camp Crame on Wednesday, Dela Rosa said that it is impossible to avoid bloodshed since drug lords will refuse to surrender.

“How I wish sana na we will achieve a drug free society without bloodshed but it is very impossible since it’s going to be a war,” the PNP chief explained.

READ: Duterte brings back police into war on drugs

Alleged drug personalities are being shot to death in Metro Manila and other parts of the Philippines in a program condemned by Amnesty International and other groups.. STAR/Joven Cagande

“Itong mga drug lords will not just leave drug trafficking business just like that. This is a billion peso industry. Hindi sila basta-basta uurong,” he added.

He reiterated an earlier statement that anti-narcotics efforts will be a “matter of action and counter action” with the life of cops are still the priority.

Dela Rosa insisted it would only be violent when the suspects resisted arrest and endangered the lives of the operatives. He maintained that no one wants a bloody war.

Yesterday, President Rodrigo Duterte created a task force and tapped again the police force to help Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and military on war on drugs.

READ: Dela Rosa hopes PNP can focus on drug war anew

Duterte was forced to bring back cops in their campaign due to lack of manpower after he suspended their operation in January following a kidnap-slay of a Korean national on the hands of anti-drug operatives.

The task force will be formed of “new blood” cops “imbued with the fervor of patriotism.”  The nation’s top cop wants to iron out everything before they resume their operation

“We have to retool ourselves, we have to reassess our units, we have to regroup, we have to reevaluate everything para ‘pag launch natin we are prepared,” Dela Rosa said.

“Tayo naman ay determinado na tapusin itong gyera na ito,” he added.

Before the suspension, around 7,000 deaths were tallied since war on drugs launched in July which earned criticisms from local and international organizations. Human rights groups decrying the killings welcomed the pause in the bloody campaign to give way to a shift of the PNP’s focus from drugs to internal cleansing. The pause, however, proved to be short lived.

Surveys on Filipinos’ opinion on the war on drugs showed that while 84 percent approved of it, 71 percent also thought suspects should have been allowed to live. More Filipinos—at 85 percent—also fear being killed in a crossfire in the campaign.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/03/01/1676925/bato-relaunched-war-drugs-will-still-be-bloody

Related:

Philippines: Jailed Critic of President Duterte’s Policies Says “Renewed” War on Drugs Shows No Learning, Corrective Action, Reliance on Law, Respect for Human Rights

March 1, 2017
Sen. Leila de Lima arrives at a regional trial court for a brief personal appearance following her arrest on drug charges Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, in suburban Paranaque city southeast of Manila, Philippines. De Lima was arrested Friday on drug charges but professed her innocence and vowed she would not be intimidated by a leader she called a “serial killer.” AP/File
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Philippines: Jailed Critic of President Duterte’s Policies Says “Renewed” War on Drugs Shows No Learning, Corrective Action, Reliance on Law, Respect for Human Rights

MANILA, Philippines — Detained Sen. Leila De Lima criticized the government’s decision to restart its “renewed” war on drugs, saying the problems that led to its suspension have not been addressed.

De Lima described as “the height of arrogance” the government’s plan to lift the suspension of police operations against drug peddlers and traffickers without addressing the defects in in its anti-narcotics campaign.

The senator, detained at the custodial center in Camp Crame on drug charges, said that the government should heed the advice of local and global experts against problems in its war on drugs program such as police corruption and lack of an accountability system meant to check police abuses.

“It’d be the height of arrogance if our government would resume its most murderous war on drugs without correcting its defects, without getting rid of corrupt policemen, and without making them accountable for their crimes,” De Lima said.

“Like many of you know, the illegal drug abuse and trafficking present a persistent problem not only for the Philippines but also for other countries. We are against drug trade, but we should not allow innocent people summarily killed,” she added.

President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Tuesday that he was tapping the police again in his drug war because of lack of manpower.

The president bared that he had ordered PNP Director General Ronald Dela Rosa to recruit young men “imbued with the fervor of patriotism” to be members of police groups that would run after drug syndicates.

“Every station should have one (task force) pero piling pili, yung walang kaso at walang history ng corruption (they will be selected thoroughly, they should have no cases and no history of corruption),” he said.

“I have to do it because kulang ako ng tao (I lack manpower),” the chief executive admitted.

This rebooted war on drugs by the government however will be different from its previous version because of the involvement of another element: the military.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines signed a memorandum of agreement with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency making it the campaign’s “force provider.”

The military will aid PDEA in going after high-value targets and help the agency in activities such as counterintelligence, investigation and neutralization of persons involved in the drugs trade.

This move from the AFP came despite warnings from the Center for Strategic and International Studies that the United States would be forced to suspend its military aid should the military become part of the drug campaign.

De Lima said that allowing the PNP to resume its anti-drugs operations would be a “reckless” move on the part of authorities.

“It is reckless, to say the least, to allow the resumption of the anti-drug operations of the Philippine National Police which is more interested in the incentives given them than in investigating and preventing death-squad- style killings,” De Lima said.

She said that the government should discard its “Double Barrel Project” and come up with a better program that respects and protects human rights of individuals, including suspected drug offenders.

“The present war on drugs is a dismal failure because there were innocent individuals who were summarily killed, those who were apprehended were not accorded due process of the law, and only the poor were targeted,” she said.

De Lima also called on the government to have a look at the “Alternate Report” the Ateneo Human Rights Center submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

According to De Lima, the report underscored the defects in the government’s anti-drugs program which claimed thousands of lives including those of innocent individuals and children who are treated as mere “collateral damage” in its campaign.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/03/01/1676919/de-lima-putting-police-back-war-drugs-reckless-arrogant

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