Rodrigo Duterte, the newly appointed president of The Philippines, campaigned on a tough-on-crime stance, encouraging the all-out extermination of drug dealers and users.
Now, eight weeks into his tenure, with over 110 people dead at the hands of police and anti-drug vigilantes, it appears as if his bloodthirsty wish is coming true.
While police have confirmed over 110 people killed, the number is likely higher with other bodies not related to police killings found in the streets with placards on them declaring that the person was involved in dealing drugs. Human rights groups have expressed concern that violence is quickly getting out of control and people are ignoring laws. (IB Times)
ABC News have exposed the grisly reality of suspects either hunted down by police, or murdered by vigilantes (with Duterte’s blessing) throughout impoverished metropolitan areas of the country.
Freelance reporter Ben Bohane claims that there are now, on average, at least 10 killings every night in Manila. It is no secret that this rapid rise in violence has been called for by president Duterte. Bohane’s ride-along makes for grim reading:
Fifteen minutes later, we are at the next scene. There, spread-eagled with gruesome head wounds and a trail of blood, lies the former police officer, dead.
He had been killed in a shoot-out with officers from the Station Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group during a midnight raid, 25 minutes earlier.
The man was identified as Pelito Basan Obligacion, an alleged drugs and guns dealer — and like most cases — had supposedly “fired first, causing police to respond”.
A Colt 45 pistol lay near his limp hand.
Duterte’s murderous measures represent the ‘war on drugs’ taken to deeply worrying extremes.
The Committee of Human Rights have claimed that the new president has evaded accusations of criminal behaviour as witnesses are too afraid to speak out, and, with formerly supportive citizens growing concerned with the rapid increase in violence, the future appears bleak under Duterte.
Words by Calum Armstrong. Tweets @vf_calum