Pubdate: Mon, 29 Aug 2016
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer (Philippines)
Copyright: 2016 Philippine Daily Inquirer
Author: Amando Doronila


CANBERRA - Since President Duterte launched his war on drug 
syndicates on July 1, he has plunged the Philippines into a 
multitheater conflict against a broad front of international 
institutions, including the United Nations, its human rights 
rapporteurs, human rights watchdog groups, Amnesty International, the 
country's Chief Justice and other domestic critics of his 
violence-driven campaign.

Hundreds of suspected drug dealers have been killed in alleged 
extrajudicial executions as the administration pursued the 
President's campaign promise to exterminate the drug menace in three 
to six months of his presidency.

This campaign has drawn international condemnation for its summary 
slaughter of suspects, disregarding human rights and due process 
under the rule of law. It has been fueled by the singular slogan: 
"Kill the drug dealers!" The death toll of this extermination 
campaign has been appalling and has shocked democratic communities 
around the world.

It has also branded the Philippine as a pariah country among 
democracies for embarking on the butchery of its people as the 
centerpiece policy of governance.

Gruesome picture

Crime statistics released by the Philippine National Police paint a 
gruesome picture of the brutality of this bloodbath and the damaging 
impact of this campaign on the country's democratic institutions.

PNP Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa, said last week the war 
on drugs would continue and "more lives will be lost along the way," 
whether that of criminals or of law enforcers. Underscoring the 
ruthlessness of the campaign, Dela Rosa called on his men to continue 
the fight, "survive gunfights" and "stay alive" when he visited the 
wake of SPO4 Edmar Bumagat who was killed in a drug-bust operation in 
Makati City.

Bumagat was part of team that arrested Angelo Tampos, a murder 
suspect. According to the PNP, Tampos allegedly grabbed the 
policeman's gun and engaged him in a scuffle until the gun went off. 
Bumagat was hit in the head while Tampos was killed by another policeman.

"We are far from over," Dela Rosa told reporters. "We have just 
finished the first month of the war against drugs. We still have five 
months to go. More lives will be lost along the way."

'Are you willing to kill?'

Talking to policemen in Bacolod City last week, Dela Rosa challenged 
them, "Are you willing to kill?"

The day after, he urged suspected drug users and pushers in Bacolod 
to go to the houses of drug lords, douse them with petroleum, and 
burn them. He said most important in the war against illegal drugs 
was the readiness to kill.

"Don't get killed. You need to be alive," he said in a speech before 
policemen, officials and other guests during the commemoration of the 
115th PNP anniversary at the regional police headquarters at Camp 
Martin Delgado.

He also lambasted the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) by telling 
policemen to stay alive because the CHR will not feed and send their 
children to school if they die.

The disclosure by Dela Rosa that there had been at least 1,067 
killings by unidentified people and over 712 killings by police since 
July 1 came under heavy fire from Amnesty International, which said 
the toll was "a terrifying indication that the authorities are 
grossly failing in their obligations to respect and protect the right to life."

"This risks the further breakdown of rule of law in this country. The 
state has a duty to protect the people from all forms of violence, 
including an obligation to promptly, and independently and 
impartially investigate such killings and bring perpetrators to 
justice," Amnesty added.

It pointed out that Dela Rosa at the Senate inquiry pledged that all 
allegations of murder and extrajudicial executions by the police 
would be investigated. However, Amnesty noted that "it is unclear if 
there will be independent oversight of investigations of such killings."

It therefore called on the authorities to ensure the establishment of 
an independent police complaints commission to be set up.

The commission should have the mandate to receive complaints and 
other reports on human rights violations committed by the police 
which will be fully independent and free from the influence of the PNP.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom