Inside President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal antidrug campaign in the Philippines

Daniel Berehulak writes: I have worked in 60 countries, covered wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and spent much of 2014 living inside West Africa’s Ebola zone, a place gripped by fear and death. What I experienced in the Philippines felt like a new level of ruthlessness: police officers’ summarily shooting anyone suspected of dealing or even using drugs, vigilantes’ taking seriously Mr. Duterte’s call to “slaughter them all.”

He said in October, “You can expect 20,000 or 30,000 more.”

On Saturday, Mr. Duterte said that, in a telephone call the day before, President-elect Donald J. Trump had endorsed the brutal antidrug campaign and invited him to visit New York and Washington. “He said that, well, we are doing it as a sovereign nation, the right way,” Mr. Duterte said in a summary of the call released by his office.

Beyond those killed in official drug operations, the Philippine National Police have counted more than 3,500 unsolved homicides since July 1, turning much of the country into a macabre house of mourning. [Continue reading…]

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One thought on “Inside President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal antidrug campaign in the Philippines

  1. Óscar Palacios

    This is really frightening. It’s a state-sponsored version of popular mob lynching. In Mexico people are so fed up with corruption and ineffective police work that many have been lynched recently. Self-proclaimed vigilantes are also on the rise. But sometimes they are crooks who simply want to eliminate the competition. I guess a lot of us frown on that but don’t see it as too much of a problem as long as those lynched are really guilty and are caught red-handed.

    But it’s a fake impression. Some months ago two brothers were lynched in a small rural location in the state of Puebla. They were accused of being kidnappers. They were brutally beaten for hours and were then burned alive. It later turned out that they were simply working for a company that needed a field study of consumers. They were polling. I was once near-lynched and I know how terrifying it can be to be completely at the mercy of a crowd of unsympathetic individuals.

    But if the police are given license to kill, that’s a really really worrisome trend.

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