Amnesty International issued a blistering report earlier today on President Roderigo Duterte’s drug war in the Philippines. More than 7,500 people have been killed over the past 7 months. Of 59 deaths investigated by Amnesty, the group reported that the vast majority were “extra-judicial killings carried out by government order.” More from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute.
“This is not a war on drugs, this is a war on the poor,” according to Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Crisis Response Director.
“On the flimsiest of evidence,” the statement continued, “people accused of selling or using drugs are being killed for cash in an economy of murder.”
The report anonymously quoted a senior police officer, described as a ten year veteran in Metropolitan Manila as saying that police were paid a bounty of between 8,000 and 15,000 Philippine dollars per killing. That’s about 160 to 300 Dollars US.
“We’re paid in cash secretly by headquarters,” the officer said, “there’s no incentive for arresting.” The report added that cops even made deals with funeral parlors, getting cash for every body delivered.
In a late night news conference at the Malacanang Palace on Sunday, President Duterte temporarily barred the Philippine National Police from anti-drug operations because of rampant corruption. That followed the kidnap and murder of a South Korean businessman by police officers in Manila last October.
The man was snatched on a phony drug warrant and ransomed by his wife. However, she did not know that the businessman had been killed, cremated and, according to an angry President Duterte, his remains flushed down a toilet.
For now, all anti-drug operations will be conducted by the much smaller Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.