Amnesty warns of crimes against humanity in Philippines

2017-02-01 05:44
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. (Ted Aljibe, AFP)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. (Ted Aljibe, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Manila - Philippine police may have committed crimes against humanity by killing thousands of alleged drug offenders or paying others to murder as part of President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war, Amnesty International said on Wednesday.

An Amnesty report, which followed an in-depth investigation into the drug war, also outlined what it said were other widespread police crimes aside from extrajudicial killings that mainly targeted the poor.

"Acting on orders from the very top, policemen and unknown killers have been targeting anybody remotely suspected of using of selling drugs," Rawya Rageh, a senior crisis adviser for Amnesty, told AFP.

"Our investigation shows that this wave of extrajudicial killings has been widespread, deliberate and systematic, and therefore may amount to crimes against humanity."

Among a litany of alleged crimes, Amnesty accused police of shooting dead defenceless people, fabricating evidence, paying assassins to murder drug addicts and stealing from those they killed or the victims' relatives.

It also said police were being paid by their superiors to kill, and documented victims as young as eight years old.

"The police are behaving like the criminal underworld that they are supposed to be enforcing the law against," the report said.

Duterte won presidential elections last year after promising during the campaign to eradicate drugs in society within six months by killing tens of thousands of people.

Murderous war on poor

On one occasion Duterte vowed that 100 000 people would be killed and so many bodies would be dumped in Manila Bay that the fish there would grow fat from feeding on them.

Duterte launched his crackdown immediately upon taking office seven months ago.

Since then, police have reported killing 2 555 people while nearly 4 000 others have died in unexplained circumstances, according to official figures.

As president, Duterte has repeatedly urged police to kill drug users as well as traffickers.

Duterte said in December he had personally killed people when he was mayor of a southern city to set an example for police.

Three months earlier he said he would be "happy to slaughter" three million drug addicts, and likened his campaign to Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's efforts to exterminate Jews in Europe.

The Amnesty report said Duterte had incited the police to carry out a murderous war on the poor, and warned that the International Criminal Court would need to start investigating unless Philippine authorities did not stop it soon.

"The police killings are driven by pressures from the top, including an order to 'neutralise' alleged drug offenders, as well as financial incentives. They have created an informal economy of death," the report said.

Amnesty said it investigated the deaths of 59 people, and found the majority of them were extrajudicial killings.

I will surrender, sir

In a number of cases witnesses to killings or victims' relatives told Amnesty that the person shot dead was unarmed and had not resisted arrest. Police also planted drugs and weapons that they later "seized" as evidence, Amnesty said.

"I will surrender, I will surrender, sir," Gener Rondina, 38, told police after they broke into his home in the central city of Cebu, a witness told Amnesty.

Rondina then knelt and raised his arms behind his head but police then shot him dead, Amnesty said, citing the witness.

When family members were allowed into the house six hours after Gener was shot, valuables including a laptop, watch and money were missing, according to Amnesty.

Police alleged Rondina had a gun and they acted in self defence, and the method of killing as well as the justification was typical of the drug war, Amnesty said.

Amnesty also warned that the lists of drug suspects that police were using to target people were deeply flawed.

This was partly because many people were placed on the lists simply after being reported by fellow community members, without any further investigation, according to Amnesty.

Duterte had until this week been unrepentant in response to criticism of his drug war and the police, insisting he was acting within the law but that extreme measures must be taken to stop the Philippines from becoming a narco state.

After a series of scandals emerged over the past month in which police were caught committing murder, kidnapping, extortion and robbery, Duterte this week ordered them to stop all activities related to the drug war.

He described the police force as "corrupt to the core" and vowed to cleanse it.

But he also vowed the drug war would continue until the last day of his term, in 2022.

He said police would return to the drug war after he reorganised the force and, in the meantime, the military would become more involved.

Read more on:    amnesty international  |  philippines  |  human rights  |  narcotics

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


6 myths about male cancer

It is important to be aware of the most prevalent cancer diseases amongst men in our country.


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.