Posts Tagged ‘vigilante killings’

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: Lawmaker Says Philippine National Police Must Legally Deal With Drug Problem Or Lose Public Support — Disgraceful practice of offering cash payments to police officers for killing drug suspects discussed

April 19, 2017

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

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

Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday said the authorities should change tactics in dealing with the narcotics problem as President Duterte’s brutal war on drugs began to lose public

“I think the tactics employed are starting to reach saturation point as far as the public is concerned. While the overall strategy is still effective, I think it’s time the (Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency) and the Philippine National Police [made] some adjustments to their tactical offensive,” Lacson said in a statement.

The latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed that public satisfaction with Mr. Duterte’s crackdown on illegal drugs fell to +66 percent in the first quarter of 2017 from +77 percent in December last year.

Fear of being killed

A majority of the respondents said they were worried that they or someone they knew would be victims of extrajudicial killings.

Lacson said people had grown tired of reports about the summary executions of drug suspects.

For a change, police can start by solving vigilante killings in the war on drugs and arresting those responsible.

“The police must therefore show solutions of these DUIs (deaths under investigation) and arrests must be made in considerable degree,” he said.

The PNP, however, said it saw no need to rethink its approach to the campaign against illegal drugs.

Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos said the drop in public support for the war on drugs in the SWS poll was a “challenge” for the police, but insisted there were no state-sponsored extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

“What is there to rethink? The deaths constitute 0.2 percent of the [people] involved in drugs that we’ve encountered. The 95 percent, or 1.18 million, surrendered peacefully while the rest were arrested alive,” he said.

“We don’t want them ending up dead [but] we give priority to protecting the public and also to [protecting] the lives of our policemen,” he added.

They resisted arrest

The PNP insisted that drug suspects who were killed in police operations had resisted arrest, endangering the lives of law enforcers.

PNP records show that as of April 18, 2,710 drug suspects were killed in police antinarcotics operations.

Carlos said he agreed with Lacson that police should arrest those behind the killings, but disagreed that the killings were extrajudicial.

He said that under former President Benigno Aquino III’s Administrative Order 35, extrajudicial killings refer only to the killings of journalists, activists and human rights defenders.

“This has to be explained, because if we keep on using the term [extrajudicial killing], then all murders and homicides that we’ve monitored would appear [to be extrajudicial killings],” he said.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros said the increasing body count had led to the drop in public approval of Mr. Duterte’s war on drugs.

‘National nightmare’

She said the campaign had turned into a “national nightmare” and it would continue to lose public support as long as it continued to “create a climate of fear and impunity.”

Sen. Joel Villanueva said the Duterte administration would “not get a passing grade” until it solved the vigilante killings.

There have been more than 3,700 alleged vigilante killings—the PNP calls them deaths under investigation—in the war on drugs as of March 24.

A new Reuters report on the killings quoted two senior police officers as saying police had carried out most of the killings and they had received cash payments for executing drug suspects and planted evidence at crime scenes.

According to the report, the cash rewards for drug killings range from P20,000 for a “street level pusher and user,” to P50,000 for a member of a barangay council, P1 million for “distributors, retailers and wholesalers,” and P5 million for “drug lords.”

Carlos denied the report, saying the PNP did not have enough money to offer cash payments to officers for killing drug suspects.

Nevertheless, the PNP is investigating the “serious” allegations in the report, he said.

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/890457/lacson-dares-pnp-solve-drug-killings

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/890457/lacson-dares-pnp-solve-drug-killings#ixzz4eiVECYVb
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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….. Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.

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.”

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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

In Philippine drug war, a family struggles to stay safe — “All we can do now is pray.”

October 20, 2016

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In this Sept. 6, 2016 photo, police inspect one of two unidentified drug suspects after being shot by police as they tried to evade a checkpoint in Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines. Bodies had begun turning up in cities all over the Philippines ever since President Rodrigo Duterte launched a controversial war on drugs this year. 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.AP/Aaron Favila

MANILA, Philippines — The bodies terrified Betchie Salvador, because she always knew her husband could be next.

They had begun turning up all over the Philippines ever since President Rodrigo Duterte launched a controversial war on drugs this year — so many that one local newspaper had to create a “Kill List” just to keep track. Dealers and addicts were being shot by police or unidentified gunmen, who were dumping them on darkened streets beside cardboard signs that warned, “I’m a pusher. Don’t Be Like Me.”

With each new death, Betchie imagined losing the man she had loved for a decade — a proud father of three who was also an addict.

“We talked about it a lot,” she said. “I told him, ‘Please don’t go out at night.'”

“Don’t worry,” Marcelo told her. “It’s gonna’ be OK.”

Marcelo, who worked as a driver, had been introduced to a potent methamphetamine known as “shabu” two years earlier by a colleague who said it helped him stay awake at night.

In his campaign for the presidency, Duterte described the drug as a life-or-death threat to a nation. And the nation, exasperated by decades of crime and corruption, believed him.

It didn’t matter that government statistics showed the rate of methamphetamine use had dropped from 6.7 million in 2004 to 1.7 million today. It didn’t matter that this rate — an estimated 2 percent of Filipinos — was no higher than that of other countries like the United States or Australia in recent years. It didn’t matter that drug wars mounted in countries like Thailand or Colombia or America had failed.

What mattered was that this was a cause the nation could rally around.

Duterte modeled his drug war in part on a brutal anti-crime campaign he spearheaded while mayor of Davao, where he rode a Harley-Davidson and cultivated a New Sheriff in Town image, with nicknames like “Duterte Harry” and “The Punisher.” The campaign was fought not just by state security forces, but by motorcycle-riding assassins known as the “Davao Death Squads” who massacred more than 1,000 people.

Duterte’s speeches were often fueled by provocative statements. He has encouraged the police to eliminate drug suspects, even called on the public to “do it yourself if you have the gun.” On his last day of campaigning on May 7, he said: “All of you who are into drugs, you sons of bitches, I will really kill you. I have no patience, I have no middle ground.”

After he was sworn into office June 30, the anti-drug operation — called “Double Barrel” — began. Police drew up “watch-lists” of suspected addicts and dealers, and security forces began carrying out raids. Vigilantes also went to work. Near Marcelo’s home, a couple was found murdered in their rickshaw. Later, another man was found with his neck slashed beside a placard labeling him an addict and a thief.

By then, Marcelo’s family was starting to fear for his life. He made a living driving a “tricycle” — a rickshaw taxi — earning just enough to support their two boys, ages 6 and 7, and a newborn baby girl. His mother, Betty Soriano, decided to accompany him to keep him safe and discourage him from doing drugs.

Marcelo also promised to quit shabu, saying it had become too dangerous. He told Betchie she didn’t have to worry “because I’m not using drugs anymore.”

At one point, a government official told Marcelo to turn himself in, a process called “surrendering” that has drawn about 700,000 drug users so far. Most are released after acknowledging their crimes and pledging never to use again.

Marcelo waved the man off, saying he had quit.

In the meantime, the number of deaths piled up: At least 1,578 drug suspects were killed by state security forces since Duterte took office, police statistics show. Vigilantes killed even more, with 2,151 murders either linked to the drug trade or classified as “unexplained.”

As a result, crime fell in some areas by nearly half, police say. But in a country that banned the death penalty a decade ago, the huge death toll has left many aghast.

“What I don’t understand is, how can — it boggles my mind — how can you actually propose that to address the problem of injustice, you perpetuate more injustice?” said Jose Luis Martin “Chito” Gascon, director of the independent Commission on Human Rights.

On the night of Sept. 5, Marcelo parked his rickshaw at a small roadside kiosk, where he had stopped to buy essentials for the morning — coffee for his family, chocolate drinking powder for his kids.

When Malvin Balingatan, who worked at the shop, leaned forward to hand him change, shots rang out, according to the police report.

It was 10:05 p.m.

As Balingatan ducked, he caught a glimpse of two men in black on a motorcycle, helmets covering their faces.

Marcelo managed to run 10 or 15 meters (yards) to the corner, where more shots were fired. He collapsed.

His mother screamed out, “My son! My son!”

At their family home, a five-minute walk away, Soriano broke the news to Betchie. Marcelo’s children appeared, woken by the chaos and the crying.

“Where’s Daddy?” one of them asked. “Where’s Daddy?”

“He’s gone,” Betchie replied, tears streaming down her cheeks.

By the time Betchie got to the scene, Marcelo — her Marcelo — was sprawled face-down in a pool of blood, his body lit by a halo of light from a bank of television cameras. A small translucent packet of white methamphetamines was visible beside his fingertips.

Her mother-in-law insists the drugs weren’t there when he died. She doesn’t know who put them there, or why. But she won’t press the issue with police, who say they have no leads.

“We don’t want any trouble,” she says. “What’s the point? What for?”

Betchie says she hopes they find who did this. But there is resignation in her voice. She is looking down toward her lap, eyes half closed.

Three days have passed since the shooting, and she is trying not to cry.

“I keep wondering what will happen to me, to my children,” she says, explaining that Marcelo, 39, was their family’s sole breadwinner. “All we can do now is pray.”

Outside, Marcelo’s rickshaw is parked on the curb, empty and quiet. A pair of red and blue wrist bands are wrapped around its headlight and speedometer, propaganda from the election campaign.

Each is inscribed with seven white letters: D U T E R T E.

Philippine Senator Already In Trouble With President Duterte’s Government Says The President and His Staff Likely To Work For a “Revolutionary Government”

October 15, 2016
Speaking before students of Miriam College on Friday, Sen. Leila De Lima said the declaration of martial law is always a possibility, but what worries her more is the emergence of a revolutionary government, which she said is far worse. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines – Embattled Sen. Leila de Lima believes a revolutionary government under President Duterte is not far off – even more likely than the declaration of martial law.

Speaking before students of Miriam College on Friday, De Lima said the declaration of martial law is always a possibility, but what worries her more is the emergence of a revolutionary government, which she said is far worse.

“The real target is revolutionary government because you know, martial law has to go through some legal obstacles – getting the concurrence of Congress, although this can be done because of the super-majority (in Congress),” De Lima said.

“But (revolutionary government) is also subject to judicial review by the Supreme Court. So this could be difficult, although they can also achieve that because of the constitutional requirements and limitations and the consequences are limited, you know, the suspension of privilege of writ of habeas corpus,” she added.

De Lima explained that the consequences of a revolutionary government are far broader than those under martial law.

“Revolutionary government would be much more totalitarian because it is extra-constitutional,” she said. “If it’s extra-constitutional, he can do anything. He would have absolute power. He can abolish key institutions like Congress, like the courts. They can introduce a new political system, legal system, social system, economic system – because of this bias towards the left.”

While she anticipates the President and his allies to find yet another reason to vilify her with her statements on the revolutionary government, De Lima said she does not mind anymore.

She said the prospect of a revolutionary government is scary because this is “a real threat to democracy, so we cannot remain silent.”

De Lima, who has faced regular attacks from the President and his allies in Congress, was asked what she thinks justice is for her. It is now illusory, she replied.

She stressed: “I’m a champion of justice, a firm and passionate champion of justice – just like being a champion and advocate for human rights or respect for human rights in all my capacities – because I’ve always believed justice and human rights go together. They come together. Without human rights, there could be no justice. Without justice, there can be no human rights.”

Saying she has always prayed for and tried to do justice, she added she never imagined herself becoming a victim of injustice now.

“And therefore, I’m also crying now for justice – justice from all these. And do you think I can attain justice before the DOJ (Department of Justice)? So justice has become illusory, has become elusive for me in the same manner that many have found it so in this country,” she said.

The DOJ is preparing to file still undetermined charges against De Lima on her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/10/16/1634074/de-lima-revolutionary-government-likely-under-duterte

(President Duterte now enjoys such high popularity in the Philippines that he might be able to do whatever he chooses…)

Related:

French newspaper calls Duterte ‘serial killer’

October 9, 2016

(The Philippine Star) |

MANILA, Philippines – A French newspaper has called President Duterte a “serial killer president” for his bloody war on drugs, sparking protests from his supporters.

The French daily Liberation’s front-page report is the latest criticism from the foreign media of the Duterte administration’s war on drugs, which has drawn international flak for human rights violations and alleged summary killings.

In an interview yesterday with dzMM, Interior Secretary Mike Sueno said calling Duterte a serial killer is “too much.”

“They don’t understand our problems,” Sueno said.

The article, with the headline “Rodrigo Duterte, the serial killer president,” alleged that death squads in Davao helped the former mayor rid the city of rebels.

In a statement, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the article “was irresponsible and shows a lack of understanding of local conditions.”

The latest death toll in the war on drugs is nearly 3,700. Police operations accounted for less than half of the deaths, while the rest were reportedly committed by vigilante groups allegedly empowered by the state.

But Sueno criticized the use of the term “extrajudicial killings,” which he said means “just any killing is being condoned by government,” when many of the drug suspects were killed because they fought with the police. “As for the others, they’re wiping out each other because they’re afraid of being pointed to,” he added.

In this Friday Sept. 6, 2016 photo, an alleged drug suspect lies on the ground beside a gun 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 Photo/Aaron Favila
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 (Two nations not too keen on protecting human rights…)

 (But Phil Government gives them the run around…)

Philippines — Removing the dead in Philippine President Duterte’s “war on drugs.”

Dead pile up in the Philippines…

 (Will The Philippines turn out the way Thailand has after starting its strong alliance with China?)

Despite lashing from Duterte, EU gives funds for drug rehab in PH
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/820933/despite-lashing-from-duterte-eu-gives-funds-for-drug-rehab-in-ph

 (On July 12, 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague said China “nine dash line claim” in the South China Sea was not valid. The court was also highly critical of China’s environmental destruction in the South China Sea.) (See Below)
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Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte Apologizes to Jews for Hitler remark

October 2, 2016
President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his State of the Nation Address in this July 2016 file photo.AP/Bullit Marquez, file
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MANILA, Philippines — After drawing flak for his remark on those comparing him to German leader Adolf Hitler, President Rodrigo Duterte apologized Sunday to the Jews, saying he did not intend to derogate the memory of the millions who were killed by the Nazis during World War II.
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“I apologize profoundly and deeply to the Jewish,” Duterte said during the opening of the MassKara festival in Bacolod.
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“I would like to make it [clear] here and now that there was never intention on my part to derogate the memory of the six million Jews murdered by the Germans,” he added.
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Duterte said he made the remark as people were comparing him to Hitler due to his bloody war on drugs. The president said while his statement had nothing to do with the Holocaust, he is apologizing if it left a “bad taste in the mouth.”
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“The Jewish community all over the world reacted,” the president said.
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“It’s not really that I said something wrong but rather they don’t really want you to tinker with the memory,” he added.
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Last Friday, Duterte said he is willing to kill three million drug addicts to address the drug menace in the Philippines
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“Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there are three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them” he said upon his arrival from a two-day official visit to Vietnam.
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“At least if Germany had Hitler the Philippines would have… you know, my victims, I would like to be all criminals to finish the problem of my country and save the next generation from perdition,” he added.
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The statement did not sit well with Jewish groups, the United Nations, Germany and other members of the international community who believe that it demonstrated lack of respect for human life. The Israeli government described Duterte’s statement as “unfortunate” and believes the president would clarify his words.
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‘Apology is only for the Jews’
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Duterte, however, maintained that he was only apologizing to the Jews and not his critics from the West and human rights advocates whom he called “stupid.”
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“With regard to the stupid lawyers in EU (European Union) and (United Nations Commission on) Human Rights, screw you. Sipain ko pa kayo (I’ll even kick you).
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“They said I love to curse. What would be my defense when you pretend to be a friend of the Philippine? America, and the Human Rights (Council) of the United Nations, when they hit you, you cannot do anything. They hog the international press. Your response will not reach them,” he added.
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Despite the outcry over the alleged extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, Duterte maintained that he is determined to pursue his brutal war on drugs.
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“If you destroy my country, if you destroy my children, I will really kill you. That’s for sure,” the tough-talking president, repeating an often repeated line in his speeches, said.
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“What is the (Commission on) Human Rights doing? Who did you kill? I don’t know. It’s just your story. The (Commission on) Human Rights actually started [the] garbage,” he added, referring to allegations that he is behind the summary executions of suspected drug offenders.
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Duterte claimed that all killings have been blamed on him including those who were hit by cars.
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“If someone dies without suspects, it’s extrajudicial killings. In Manila, it (the number of deaths) has reached 3,000. I was the one being blamed,” the president.
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Aside from reminders from the UN and US to observe the rule of law in police operations — Duterte has been reminding security forces that they are only authorized to kill if suspects resist arrest and their lives are in danger — the president has been cautioned against statements that may be perceived to be encouraging the killing of suspected criminals, which a UN special rapporteur has likened to a license to kill.
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“All of these incidents have piled up. I really do not mind,” the president said.
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Philippines’ Duterte apologizes to Jewish community after Nazi remarks

October 2, 2016

Reuters

October 2, 2016
Philippines President Duterte gestures while delivering a speech before female police officers during a gathering in Davao city
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte gestures while delivering a speech before female police officers during a gathering in Davao city, Philippines September 30, 2016. REUTERS/Lean Daval Jr

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte apologized “profoundly and deeply” to the Jewish community on Sunday, and said his references to the Holocaust while discussing his war on drugs were to hit back at critics who had likened him to Adolf Hitler.

Duterte said he recognized the comments made in the early hours of Friday had caused outrage among Jewish communities around the world, but he insisted his mention of the Nazi leader was to show how opponents had sought to portray him.

“I would like to make it now, here and now, that there was never an intention on my part to derogate the memory of the six million Jews murdered,” he said in a speech at a festival carried live on television.

“The reference to me was, I was supposedly Hitler, who killed many people.”

He added: “I apologize profoundly and deeply to the Jewish community … it was never my intention, but the problem was I was criticized, using Hitler comparing to me.”

More than 3,100 people have been killed since Duterte took office three months ago and launched a promised drugs war that was the bedrock of his campaign for elections, which he won by a large margin.

Most of those killed so far have been drug users and pushers, with some deaths during shootouts in police operations and others the work of vigilantes, police say.

Duterte, 71, has been nicknamed “the Punisher” for his tough stance on crime. He said on Friday he had been portrayed by critics as being “a cousin of Hitler” and said he would “be happy to slaughter” three million Filipino drug users and peddlers.

The comments caused outrage, and follow other provocative public outbursts in the past few months.

Duterte’s narcotics crackdown has broad support among Filipinos fed up with drugs and crime, and he has lashed out at those who have challenged it, including U.S. President Barack Obama and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon.

He had vented his frustration again on Sunday at human rights groups and what he called “stupid” lawyers of the European Union.

Duterte’s spokesman on Saturday said Duterte rejected the Hitler label and his remarks the previous day were an “oblique deflection” of him being portrayed as a mass murderer.

(Editing by Mike Collett-White)

Philippines – Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Socrates Villegas is ashamed of the things he reads about the Philippines in the international media

October 1, 2016
 
In his reflections titled “Confused and sad yet hopeful,” Socrates Villegas said the Filipino values of maka-Diyos, makatao and makabayan (pro-God, pro-people and pro-country) are slowly eroding and being replaced by an open license for cuss words, orchestrated lies and vulgarity. STAR/File photo
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DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines – Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Socrates Villegas is ashamed of the things he reads about the Philippines in the international media and of what he hears from the country’s leaders when he watches the local news.

In his reflections titled “Confused and sad yet hopeful,” Villegas said the Filipino values of maka-Diyos, makatao and makabayan (pro-God, pro-people and pro-country) are slowly eroding and being replaced by an open license for cuss words, orchestrated lies and vulgarity.

“I am afraid that our children and youth will catch and embrace these twisted values. I dread the thought they might carry these errors into the next generation and render tomorrow bleak and gloomy,” he said.

He said he grieved over the killings that he had been seeing and hearing about, apparently referring to the killings related to the government’s anti-drug campaign.

“The well is running dry and I can no longer condole with the bereaved families because I myself need to be assured that things will get better,” he said.

“My brows have not been without furrows for some months now  – worried, confused and sad. I cry as I pray alone. I am horrified at the new ‘things’ that make my countrymen laugh,” he added.

To help him cope, Villegas said he holds on to the saying: The darkest hour is just before dawn. “The darkest hour is the hour before the sunburst!”

“In my great shame at where our nation is going, in my confusion, in my doubts, in my grief, in my worry, in my fears, what can I do to change the downward course of my beloved Philippines?” he asked.

He urged the people to pray the rosary everyday, noting the church will commemorate on Oct. 13 the 99th anniversary of the final apparition of Our Lady of Fatima to the three children in Portugal.

The Blessed Virgin urged the children to tell people to pray the rosary everyday.

“The rosary in our hands and on our lips are powerful weapons for our time. So simple we take for granted, yet so powerful for world change,” he said.

He urged the people to attend mass everyday and receive communion.

“The pious practice of receiving daily communion for the country will heal our land. Do not ever forget that one Eucharist lovingly offered is enough to change the entire cosmos. How much more this nation,” he said as he called on the people to go to confession at least once a month.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/10/02/1629540/cbcp-exec-pinoys-embracing-twisted-values

Survivors of Super Typhoon Haiyan march during a religious procession in Tolosa on the eastern Philippine island of Leyte on November 18, 2013 over one week after Super Typhoon Haiyan devastated the area. The United Nations estimates that 13 million people were affected by Super Typhoon Haiyan with around 1.9 million losing their homes. AFP PHOTO / Philippe LopezPHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images

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