Sun, Mar 04, 2018 - Page 5 News List

Over 100 killed since war restart: Philippine police

AFP, MANILA

More than 100 drug suspects have been killed since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the police to rejoin his “war on drugs,” an official said yesterday.

Philippine National Police Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao said that 102 drug suspects were killed by police between Dec. 5 last year — when Duterte ordered the force to rejoin the drug war — and Thursday.

In October last year, Duterte announced that the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency would replace the police in counternarcotics operations following mounting public opposition, including rare street protests.

However, Duterte also repeatedly said that the anti-drug agency, with only about 2,000 officers, would not be able to effectively conduct the crackdown.

He eventually ordered the police back into the anti-drug campaign without any major reform of the force.

Bulalacao could not give comparative figures for the death toll before Dec. 5, but according to figures released separately by the government, 4,021 “drug personalities” were killed between June 2016 — when Duterte took office — and Feb. 8.

Campaigners have said that about 12,000 people have been killed in the drug war, many of them by shadowy vigilantes, and that Duterte might be carrying out a crime against humanity.

Early last month, a prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the Netherlands, said that she had opened a “preliminary examination” into the alleged abuses.

Over the past few weeks, the Philippine government has said that it is willing to let a UN special rapporteur into the nation to look into the accusations.

However, Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter Cayetano has called for fairness in the investigation, and Duterte has told police and the military to not cooperate with the rapporteur.

“If they ask you about wrongdoing, do not answer. And if they ask you why, tell them: We have a commander-in-chief,” Duterte told police and soldiers on Thursday.

Asked about the remark, Bulalacao said that if international investigators approach the police, “we shall refer this matter to the higher authorities.”

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