‘Killers paid per head’ – Amnesty International


POLICE or their hired assassins were paid thousands of pesos by headquarters to kill suspects in the government’s war on drugs, an operation that amounted to crimes against humanity, London-based human rights group Amnesty International claimed on Wednesday.

In a news conference in Quezon City, the group said President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs had been tainted with human rights violations and what it claimed was the systematic killing of the poor and the defenseless. The killings had the blessings of top government officials, it claimed in a report.

“This is not a war on drugs, but a war on the poor. Often on the flimsiest of evidence, people accused of using or selling drugs are being killed for cash in an economy of murder,” Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s crisis response director, said.

Malacañang immediately downplayed the claims.

“The extrajudicial deaths are not state-sanctioned. This is also the conclusion of the Senate’s Committees on Justice, and on Public Order and Illegal Drugs,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

Senator Panfilo Lacson also dismissed as rumor the claim that police officers were paid to kill drug suspects.

“We even conducted our own investigation on it but we did not find any proof that policemen are being paid to kill,” the senator told reporters.

Paid ‘per encounter’
Amnesty International said it spoke to a police officer with the rank of Senior Police Officer 1, who had served in the force for a decade and conducted operations as part of an anti-illegal drugs unit in Metro Manila.

The officer, it said, described how the police were paid per “encounter,” the term used to falsely present extrajudicial killings as legitimate operations.

“The amount ranges from P8,000 ($161) to P15,000 ($302)… That amount is per head. So if the operation is against four people, that’s P32,000 ($644)… We’re paid in cash, secretly, by headquarters…There’s no incentive for arresting. We’re not paid anything. It never happens that there’s a shootout and no one is killed,” the police officer said.

Two paid killers also told Amnesty International they took orders from a police officer who paid them P5,000 ($100) for each drug user killed and P10,000 to P15,000 ($200 to $300) for each “drug pusher” killed.

Police have also established a racket with funeral homes, which rewarded them for each dead body sent their way.

Amnesty International’s report claimed the police also enriched themselves by stealing from victims’ homes, including objects of sentimental value.

Since President Rodrigo Duterte came to office seven months ago, there have been more than 7,000 drug-related killings, with the police directly killing at least 2,500 alleged drug offenders, the group noted.

‘Like a pig’
In one case in Batangas City, Amnesty International said a victim’s wife narrated how the police shot dead her husband at close range despite her pleas for mercy.

Another incident in Cebu City revealed that when Gener Rondina saw a large contingent of police officers surround his home, he appealed to them to spare his life and said he was ready to surrender.

“The police kept pounding and when they went in, he was shouting, ‘I will surrender, I will surrender, sir,’” a witness told Amnesty International.

The police ordered Rondina to lie down on the floor as they told another person in the room to leave.

Moments later, witnesses heard gunshots. The police carried the body out “like a pig” then placed it near a sewer before loading it to a vehicle. Valuables including a laptop, watch, and money went missing.

Rondina’s father, Generoso, who served in the police force for 24 years before retiring in 2009, told Amnesty International he was “ashamed” of his son’s drug use as he professed support for the government’s anti-drug efforts.

“But what they did was too much. Why kill someone who had already surrendered?” the elder Rondina was quoted as saying.

Hassan reminded the Duterte government that the Philippines is a state party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

In October 2016, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, expressed concern over the killings and indicated her office might initiate a preliminary examination.



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  1. “Killers paid per head – Amnesty International.” This is hearsay. If A.I. could show some proof, then we would believe it.

    when Marcos visited the US and was interviewed by the American press and asked about human rights violations in the Philippines, Marcos said that Amnesty International had never come to the Philippines and all that A.I. obtained are hearsay.

    Marcos gave as example the famous case of a certain Fr. Avidicio who disappeared. Government agents could not locate the priest but after 6 months, the government found out that the priest had run away with a nun and went to Germany. the American audience then laughed.

  2. Juan Dela Cruz on

    Amnesty International should back their claims with evidence. It is easy to throw stones against the Government without giving solutions or doing something about the situation. Just thinking though, if we are to put a semblance of truth to AI’s allegations, then where will the PNP get the funds? Common. The PNP lacks fund for arms. For pays. But they have funds to kill?

  3. The crooked cops and killers organized by Leila DeLima when she was Justice Secretary are still at work erasing evidence and silencing witnesses. They did not miss a beat even during Duterte’s war on drugs. DeLima and her cohorts in the Liberal Party intend to be in the lucrative illegal drug business long after Duterte is gone. The suspension of the drug war is a victory for DeLima’s narcos.

  4. Buttomline, Lahat ng sinasabi dito na pinatay ay mga salot pa din sa lipunan. Either nagbebenta or gumagamit ng droga. So anong pinaglalaban nyong mga righteous? Mas malala pa yang mga yan pag nanghoholdap, pumapatay, nag ra-rape ng mga innocent na biktima. Choose the lesser evil. Mabuti na yan para mabawasan ang mga salot sa bayan

  5. It is so easy to blame the government but the people know that there are other side of the story too that there are groups who wanted to bring this leadership down so they can get back to where they were for a very long time! Filipinos are no longer stupid to believe on AI reports alone.

  6. Can AI prove it? Does AI have hard evidence supporting their serious accusations? Iin any kind of war, including war on drugs and war on rogue cops there are always casualties. Just wait what CHR and AI will have to say when the body bags of rogue cops start piling up … crimes against humanity are committed during genocides and religious wars

    • Only those you are involved in illegal activities live in fear, ask every normal and working citizen if they feel safer now than during Pnoy’s term? the answer is an astounding “YES”

  7. “This is not a war on drugs, but a war on the poor. Often on the flimsiest of evidence, people accused of using or selling drugs are being killed for cash in an economy of murder,”

    Welcome to the Philippines

    • Juan Dela Cruz on

      Sir, if it indeed this is only a war against the poor, how come kerwin espinosa and others are apprehended/jailed?

    • How many out of the 7000 people killed are you referring to ?

      Out of the 7000 how many are drug lords ?