Po­lice gun down 10 as Duterte’s war on crime kicks in

The Myanmar Times - - World -

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”. –

Photo: AFP

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.

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