Police gun down 10 as Duterte’s war on crime kicks in
PHILIPPINE police have killed 10 people with suspected links to drugs since President Rodrigo Duterte took office, authorities said, in a brutal start to his controversial war on crime.
Mr Duterte was sworn into office on June 30 after a landslide win built largely on a pledge to kill thousands of suspected criminals in a relentless law-and-order crackdown he said was needed to stop the Philippines becoming a narco-state.
Police in Bulacan province neighbouring Manila said they launched an anti-drug trafficking blitz the day Duterte took office, that claimed nine lives.
“We are just following the marching orders of our new chief of the Philippine National Police,” Bulacan police spokesperson Senior Inspector Linel Solomon said.
She said the nine died in seven encounters, insisting police were forced to kill them because the suspects fought back.
Another suspect was also shot dead after he used a gun during a raid on his home in the central city of Dumaguete on July 1, police officer Mark Tikling told AFP.
With Mr Duterte encouraging them, police had already killed dozens of suspected criminals between his election victory and being sworn into office.
Mr Duterte, who has been accused of links to vigilante death squads that killed more than 1000 people during his nearly two decades as mayor of southern Davao city, insisted during his inauguration speech that he would not break the law during his war on crime.
But in a series of speeches afterward he urged communist rebels and ordinary citizens to kill suspected criminals and drug addicts.
He also promised to use his presidential powers to protect police who faced legal charges for mass killings.
“If in the process you kill 1000 persons because you were doing your duty, then I will protect you,” he said in a speech to install the country’s new chief of police, Ronald Dela Rosa.
Mr Dela Rosa also warned that police officers linked to drug trafficking to surrender or be killed.
Wilnor Papa, the local coordinator for human rights group Amnesty International, warned Mr Duterte was inciting extrajudicial killings.
“When you have the president saying
this is how he wants it, you are emboldening law enforcement to go beyond the law,” he said.
In a sign of possible vigilante activity, a bullet-riddled body was found in a Manila slum on July 1 with a sign on it that read “I am a Chinese drug lord”. –
A forensic investigator looks for evidence at the site where members of a suspected drug syndicate were killed after a shootout with police in Manila yesterday.