Pubdate: Wed, 03 Aug 2016
Source: New Mexican, The (Santa Fe, NM)
Copyright: 2016 The Santa Fe New Mexican
Author: Jason Gutierrez, The New York Times


MANILA, Philippines - Since Rodrigo Duterte became president of the 
Philippines just over a month ago, promising to get tough on crime by 
having the police and the military kill drug suspects, 420 people 
have been killed in the campaign, according to tallies of police 
reports by the local news media.

Most were killed in confrontations with the police, while 154 were 
killed by unidentified vigilantes. This has prompted 114,833 people 
to turn themselves in, as either drug addicts or dealers, since 
Duterte took office, according to national police logs.

Addressing Congress last week in his first State of the Nation 
address, Duterte reiterated his take-no-prisoners approach, ordering 
the police to "triple" their efforts against crime.

"We will not stop until the last drug lord, the last financier and 
the last pusher have surrendered or been put behind bars or below the 
ground, if they so wish," he said.

But human rights groups, Catholic activists and the families of many 
of those who have been killed say the vast majority were poor 
Filipinos, many of whom had nothing to do with the drug trade.

Critics of the crackdown have rallied around the case of a 
29-year-old rickshaw driver in Manila who was shot by unidentified 
gunmen. A photographer took a picture of the man's wife cradling his 
body in the street, and the photograph quickly gained wide attention.

Scribbled on a cardboard sign left near his body was the word 
"pusher." His family members insist he was not involved in the drug 
trade, though they said he sometimes used meth.

Indirectly acknowledging criticism that his policies trample over the 
standard judicial process, Duterte said that human rights "cannot be 
used as a shield to destroy the country."
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom