• UPDATE Philippine police killings raise fears over Duterte rule

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    MANILA: Philippine police shot dead eight drug suspects this week, authorities said Friday, following repeated calls by president-elect Rodrigo Duterte for security forces to kill criminals.

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    Gunmen on motorcycles also murdered three petty criminals in Duterte’s hometown of Davao, police said, deepening fears of mass extra-judicial killings once the controversial politician begins his six-year term on June 30.

    Police insisted the eight drug suspects were killed lawfully, with the officers only firing back after being shot at in three separate raids. One occurred in Manila, another near the capital and the third in a small town in the northern Philippines.

    “There is no new policy to kill drug suspects. We have our rules of engagement and respect their human rights,” said Superintendent Teresita Escamillan, police spokeswoman for the Manila district where two of the suspects were killed.

    When asked for comment, national police spokesman Wilben Mayor said all officers “appeared” to follow operational procedures on the use of force, based on the reports sent to headquarters in Manila.

    Such deaths are not unusual in a nation where the police force has a track record of extra-judicial killings, and show the danger of the situation getting much worse under Duterte, according to rights group Amnesty International.

    “We fear an erosion of the rule of law. Once that happens, the Philippines will become a Wild West and become totally ungovernable,” Wilnor Papa, campaign coordinator for Amnesty’s Philippine office, told Agence France-Presse.

    Papa said there were other worrying signals of an imminent breakdown in the rule of law, citing the recent offer by the incoming mayor of the major city of Cebu of bounties to police officers who killed criminal suspects.

    Extra-judicial killings by soldiers, police, insurgents and vigilante groups were already among the Philippines’ most significant human rights problems, the US State Department said in its annual global human rights report last year.

    “Concerns about impunity of national and local government officials, security force members, and powerful business and commercial figures persisted,” the report said.

    Shoot-to-kill

    Duterte won this month’s elections in a landslide largely on an incendiary law-and-order platform headlined by a vow to wipe out crime within six months.

    He pledged to give security forces shoot-to-kill orders, and vowed that tens of thousands of criminals would die.

    Duterte also variously denied and acknowledged links to vigilante squads in Davao, a major city in the southern Philippines that he has ruled for most of the past two decades.

    Rights group say the death squads have killed more than 1,000 people, including children and petty criminals, and that no-one has been brought to justice for those deaths.

    Three suspected petty criminals were killed in a single attack on Wednesday in Davao, according to the city’s police spokeswoman, Senior Inspector Milgrace Driz.

    Up to five gunmen on motorcycles attacked the men on a street near a school, Driz said.

    “Police records show these men were pickpockets and burgled cars,” Driz said, adding the deaths could have been due to gang warfare.

    When asked if the so-called Davao Death Squads could have been responsible, she described them as a “myth.”

    “They don’t exist, it is only you journalists who say they exist,” she said.

    Commenting on the latest Davao killings this week, Duterte told a news conference on Thursday there would be no need to investigate if the suspects were involved in drugs, and that public security outweigh human rights concerns.

    “What was their crime? If they had a different crime, we will investigate. Drugs, I am sorry…. I will not allow the (suspects) to go to jail for that,” he said. “Are we here to protect public interest, public health, public safety? Or are we here to protect human rights?”

    Since the election Duterte has also said one of his top priorities as president will be to bring back the death penalty, and he would seek to hang some criminals twice so that their heads would be snapped off. AFP

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    8 Comments

    1. tama ang ginawa ng mga polis at we congratulate them for a job well done. kung noon pa lang sana ginawa ng mga polis ito, siguro by this time wala ng mga drug personalities at kriminals

      to the polis, just do your work at huwag ninyong pakinggan ang mga critiques ninyo.marami kaming mga mamayan na sawa na sa mga drugista at mga kriminals at gusto ng makatulog ng mahimbing at ang aming mga anak ay malayo sa kapahamakan.

    2. Nothing to fear. Drug dealer,pushers,manufacturers;murdered, KFR group,plunderers,traitors, and all who committed heinous crimes must be eliminated. These set of creatures have no place in our society. BEASTS in human form must be treated without human mercy. Natural beasts is more better than BEASTS in human form.

    3. Robert nguyen on

      I am not a lawyer, but can a person who has knowledge of being a lawyer explained if the accuses has rights than what about the victim? I had been twice been pointed at once 357 magnum gun and a 9 milliliter at me, do I tell the gunman he has a right as he is pointing the gun at me? So in this scenario where is my rights? It has been taken away from me, I have no rights at all, my rights to be safe is gone, my emotional rights has been turn upside down, all these human rights lawyer forgets about the rights of the victims and what they been thru, if these human rights lawyer have a gun pointing at them and not knowing will they live or not I am sure they had wished a police officer would be there to stop the crime.

      • In the Philippines there is a good chance those criminals pointing the guns are police.

    4. David Michael Meyer on

      well he the president , has given his tacit agreement to this sort of thing,,One can expect to see more of this type of vigilante action..If indeed the perpetrators see The president giving his “Blessing”..to this form of” justice “…Judge Dredd Has arrived in the philippines ?

      David M Meyer (PhD psych}

    5. Police should start wearing body cameras so there is something besides the officers report that shooting was legal.

      • pinay in US on

        you want to finance the body camera, a lot of filipino people does not have food to eat. Instead of using the money to buy the body camera help the children that are hungry and yes I support this vigilante style for criminals. Go ahead make Duterte’s day.

      • If your children or family get gunned down by the police you would have a different opinion.