Pubdate: Sat, 06 Aug 2016
Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)
Copyright: 2016 Associated Press


MANILA (AP) - President Rodrigo Duterte acknowledged abuses have 
occurred in his war on illegal drugs, which has left more than 400 
people dead in a month and alarmed rights activists. But Duterte 
refused to back down from a shoot-to-kill order for drug suspects.

Duterte said in a speech late Thursday that most drug dealers and 
addicts slain in gunbattles with police had put up a fight, but added 
that he was sure some were "salvaged," a local slang for 
extrajudicial killings usually by law officers.

In the case of illegal killings, Duterte said the government will investigate.

"They really fight back, I know that," Duterte said in a speech in 
Davao city, where he built a name as a mayor for his tough approach 
to crime before becoming president. "I'm sure there are some who were 
salvaged, I am also sure of that."

Early Friday, he told reporters that he gave "shoot to kill" orders 
against drug dealers, including politicians involved in the illicit trade.

"I'll really have you killed. Look at what you're doing to the 
Philippines and I'll forgive you?" Duterte said, apparently enraged 
after visiting a town police chief who was shot in the chest by a 
suspected drug dealer and rushed to a Davao hospital.

"My order is shoot to kill you. I don't care about human rights, you 
better believe me," he said.

Duterte's centerpiece anticrime drive, focused on an ambitious 
campaign promise to end the widespread drug problem in six months, 
has left more than 400 drug suspects dead, many of them either in 
gunfights with police or under suspect circumstances. More than 4,400 
have been arrested, police said.

The unprecedented killings have scared more than half a million drug 
users and dealers who gave themselves up to police, officials said. 
Duterte has said he was considering setting aside areas in military 
camps nationwide to build rehabilitation centers for those who surrender.

In recent days, eight suspected drug dealers were gunned down in 
separate clashes with police.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom