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Thursday, August 18, 2016


Philippines' Duterte vows to keep 'shoot-to-kill' order
AFPAugust 6, 2016


About 800 people have been killed since Rodrigo Duterte won a landslide election in May 2016, according to reports by Philippine local press (AFP Photo/Noel Celis)

Manila (AFP) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to maintain his "shoot-to-kill" order against drug dealers while in office and says he "does not care about human rights".

About 800 people have been killed since Duterte won a landslide election in May, according to reports by the local press which has been tracking the maverick politician's campaign pledge to kill tens of thousands of criminals.

"This campaign (of) shoot-to-kill will remain until the last day of my term if I'm still alive by then," the 71-year-old said at a news conference in his southern hometown of Davao.

"I don't care about human rights, believe me," he said, according to official transcripts released by the presidential palace Saturday.

He said government officials who use their positions to engage in a trade that wrecks the lives of many Filipinos were first on his list.

Duterte said he was also offering soldiers and police his "official and personal guarantee" of immunity from prosecution for killings undertaken in the performance of their duties.

The president dismissed critics' suggestions some of the 402 suspects whose killings have been acknowledged by the police were "salvaged", the local police term for summary execution.

Hundreds of others have been killed by suspected vigilantes, according to unofficial tallies by local newspapers and television networks.

The UN anti-drugs office on Wednesday joined international rights organisations in condemning the rash of killings.

"The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime remains greatly concerned by the reports of extrajudicial killing of suspected drug dealers and users in the Philippines," its executive director Yury Fedotov said in a statement.

"I join the United Nations secretary general in condemning the apparent endorsement of extrajudicial killing, which is illegal and a breach of fundamental rights and freedoms," Fedotov added.

In June, UN chief Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned Duterte's apparent support of extrajudicial killings.

"These NGOs (non-governmental organisations) that are complaining to the United Nations, this is none of their business," Duterte retorted.

"I'm waging a war. I am now invoking the articles of war."

Duterte said he had no fear the anti-crime campaign would cause his impeachment and removal from office.

"The Filipino is crying for justice" from crimes committed by drug dependents, he said.

Police say more than 500,000 people have surrendered to the local authorities and pledged to stop using illegal drugs.

Philippines' Duterte says he's willing to face probe into drug killings
August 17, 2016

By Manuel Mogato


Rodrigo Duterte on being tough on criminals
MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday his government is willing to face any inquiry into the deaths of hundreds of suspected drug dealers and users as human rights groups express alarm over extrajudicial killings.

Nearly 600 suspected drug peddlers and users have been killed in police operations since Duterte took power six weeks ago, police say, but rights groups put the number at more than 1,000.

"We are willing to submit ourselves for an investigation before anybody," Duterte said in a speech at the national police office, adding some of the killings were carried out by drug gangs.

"But do not attribute acts of other criminals upon my government. The fight against drugs will continue unrelenting until we have destroyed the apparatus operating in the entire country."

There have been cases when police officers have killed suspected drug dealers in handcuffs, in police custody or inside prison cells, civil rights lawyers have said. Police have said they will not condone wrongdoing but that some may have been killed by rogue officers.
In another public event, Duterte attacked Senator Leila de Lima, who will open a public inquiry next week into drug-related killings, saying she was only playing politics and linked her driver to the drugs trade.

"It's character assassination," an emotional de Lima told reporters at the Senate. "It's so foul. I did not expect the president to do that."

Duterte won the presidency in May on a single platform of suppressing crime and drugs, declaring war on narcotics on his first day in office. He has identified 160 officials, police and judges in a name-and-shame campaign to stop the drug trade.

"I myself, who ordered the campaign against drugs, take full and sole responsibility for it," Duterte said, cautioning police against using excessive force in making arrests.

"Do not kill if you're not in danger of losing your life."

(Editing by Nick Macfie)

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