Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's crackdown against illegal drugs is a "large-scale murdering enteprise" that should be investigated by the United Nations, Amnesty International said Monday.
In a new report entitled "They Just Kill," Amnesty warned that while
there were fewer reports of killings under the campaign, the
extrajudicial executions continue three years after Duterte became
president in 2016.
"Three years on, President Duterte's 'war on drugs' continues to be
nothing but a large-scale murdering enterprise for which the poor
continue to pay the highest price," said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty
International's regional director for East and South-East Asia.
"It is time for the United Nations, starting with its Human Rights
Council, to act decisively to hold President Duterte and his
government accountable," he added in a press conference where the
report was released.
According to official statistics, at least 6,600 drug suspects have
been killed in police drug operations from July 1, 2016 to May 31
But the Amnesty report noted" "Due to the government's tactics of
deliberate obfuscation and misinformation, it is impossible to know
exactly how many people have been killed in the anti-drug campaign."
The report documented the deaths of 27 people in 20 incidents of
drug-related killings between May 2018 and April 2019 in the province
of Bulacan, north of Manila, which Amnesty tagged as "the country's
bloodiest killing field" now.
Eighteen of the incidents were police "buy-bust" operations, and in
those cases "police tried to justify the killing by claiming that the
person fought back, requiring the use of deadly force," the report
Amnesty cited a forensic expert as saying, "It's so consistent, it's
a script. In fact, when you see the [police] report, it looks like a
Another pattern identified in the report involves "abductions by
plainclothes police - and individuals who go missing - which are then
classified by police as 'buy-bust' kills when the body appears," the
Presidential spokesman Salvado Panelo said Amnesty International
should have helped victims file criminal cases against police
officers if there were any irregularities in the operations.
"They should have filed a case against the policeman and we would
have welcomed it," he said.
"As the president says, we will not
tolerate any police abuse because there will always be hell to pay
Panelo criticised Amnesty International for "politicizing the
so-called extrajudicial killings," adding: "There is bias, there is
"You cannot be politicizing, running to the media and making report
without facts, without a formal complaint," he added. "Otherwise,
those are mere allegations and designed to besmirch the reputation of
Butch Olano (L), Amnesty International section representative speaks while Nicholas Bequelin (video screen) Amnesty International Regional Director for East and Southeast Asia, listen during a press conference in Manila