MANILA: A Philippine politician said he had given more than $3,000 to police officers for killing drug traffickers, the first such rewards since President-elect Rodrigo Duterte promoted bounties for slain criminals.
Duterte won last month’s elections in a landslide after pledging to wipe out crime by killing tens of thousands of criminals, and this week said he would pay bounties to law enforcement officers for dead drug traffickers.
Tomas Osmeña, mayor-elect of Cebu, the nation’s second-biggest city, offered similar rewards and announced on his Facebook page on Thursday night he had paid out P155,000 ($3,300) to police who killed three men he said were drug traffickers.
Osmeña posted a series of comments celebrating the deaths of the three men, as he lashed out at the Commission on Human Rights, a constitutionally mandated body, for investigating the circumstances of the May 28 killings.
“CHR = Criminals. Have. Rights. (Even more than the real victims),” Osmeña wrote.
Osmeña described one of the slain suspects, Rowen Secretaria, as one of Cebu’s biggest drug dealers. Osmeña did not return calls from Agence France-Presse requesting comment, and in a previous interview refused to disclose where the money for the bounties would come from.
Osmeña and Duterte, like all winners in the national elections, will not take office until June 30. But Duterte this week urged security forces to begin the war on crime immediately, calling on them to kill criminals.
Duterte announced on Tuesday he would pay three million pesos ($21,000) to law enforcers for killing drug lords, with lesser amounts for lower-ranking people in drug syndicates.
However Osmeña’s rewards are the first confirmation of a payment being made for killing a suspect.
Duterte’s law-and-order campaign pledges hypnotized millions of Filipinos hoping for quick solutions to the nation’s deep-rooted problems of crime and corruption.
However human rights groups and other critics voiced alarm that a Duterte presidency would lead to extrajudicial killings and a general breakdown in the rule of law.
A recent spate of drug suspects being killed has deepened those fears.
Police have confirmed killing at least 15 drug suspects, including Secretaria and his group, since May 24.
However police have insisted all of those deaths occurred because the suspects fought back, and that there were no illegal killings. AFP