Study Says Duterte’s Drugs Campaign “War on the Poor”, Nonprofit Says


Franco Luna –

January 28, 2021 | 4:53 p.m.

MANILA, Philippines – There is some truth in the Duterte administration’s so-called “war on drugs” as anti-poor, the results of a demographic analysis conducted by a non-governmental organization of the executions summaries related to the fight against drugs suggest the campaign.

In a study titled “Beyond the Numbers”, The Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services, Inc., or IDEALS compiled a dataset of some 500 cases of human rights violations dating back to late 2016 through February 2020 , largely in Metro Manila. , and some from Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite and Cebu.

The nonprofit in its research found that all of the cases involved victims who were blue collar workers, the majority of whom worked as construction workers or carpenters, while a significant portion of the victims were also from the informal sector as minimum wage earners in urban areas. poor communities.

Beyond the Numbers also noted that 99% of victims had never completed higher education. Only three of them were able to graduate from university, while the rest were only able to complete high school, elementary or preschool, proof, they said, that the war on drugs was a “war on the poor.” “.

To date, official police figures have recognized only 8,000 “drug figures” who have been killed in official police operations, although rights groups say the actual death toll could. reach 30,000 since the start of Duterte’s “war” in 2016.

Human beings before drug addicts

Local and international organizations have said nightly killings only increased amid coronavirus-induced lockdowns, a claim corroborated by the government’s own data.

READ: ‘War on drugs’ deaths rise amid coronavirus pandemic – int’l rights monitor

“Through the documentation of these cases, the atrocities committed and tolerated by this administration should not be forgotten,” said Raphael Carlo Brolagda, an attorney who serves as the project coordinator and one of the study researchers.

“Whether or not the victims are linked to illegal drugs, they are human beings whose rights are enshrined in the constitution,” he also said.

According to UN groups to local rights observers, cops under the Duterte administration have been granted “near impunity” by the president’s statements and are further encouraged to carry out summary executions linked to the flagship campaign of administration against illegal drugs.

An earlier UN report also suggested that the accumulation of evidence by police officers was common practice. The European Parliament, for its part, also denounced what it called the “rapid” deterioration of human rights and press freedom in the Philippines, citing the thousands of extrajudicial killings and human rights violations. of man related to the war on drugs.

READ: “Serious Violations”: Bachelet Reports on Philippines to UN Rights Council

The group questions the lack of surveys

Official police reports on drug operations routinely claim that only suspects who retaliated were killed – an account of Beyond the Numbers’ initial findings also called into question.

According to IDEALS, 26.7% of victims have never been linked to drugs, according to relatives of the victims.

“Witnesses or families also claimed that 129 of the cases involved warrantless arrests, 66 Tokhangs and only 40 legitimate buyouts compared to the alleged 128 state agents,” the group’s statement said. “Official records and testimonies from families and / or witnesses further showed that 55% of the incidents involved the Philippine National Police, while 32% were by unidentified assailants.”

Researchers also recorded 252 murders and 229 arbitrary detentions to accompany other cases of torture and enforced disappearances. According to the group, around 45% of cases included other violations such as planting evidence, taking property, forcible ingestion of substances, extortion and sexual violence.

READ: After Human Rights Day arrests, HRW says there is a ‘damning story’ of cops planting evidence

The lack of investigation into these cases is particularly telling, the group said in its report. According to the findings of the NGO, only 32% of cases that have been the subject of an initial investigation by the state, 98% have no follow-up. In addition, in 58.5% of the cases, no information was given to the victims or to the families as to whether or not an investigation was to be carried out.

“The discrepancy between the claims of the families of victims and witnesses to the incident and those of state officials was expected,” the researchers wrote in conclusion.

“While the truth of what really happened remains to be determined, the fact remains that the government’s claims are disputed by those who have lost their loved ones despite the fear of suffering the brutality themselves.”

Despite well-documented evidence, the police leadership also completely invalidated the existence of extrajudicial killings, saying the deaths are just a story peddled by the administration’s political opposition.

“Women most affected indirectly”

The IDEALS demographic analysis used a statistical and methodological framework based on the statistical classification framework of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

RELATED: ‘Extreme Neglect’: HRW Says Philippines Not Helping Children Affected By ‘War on Drugs’

Although the study found that 86.2% of the victims were men, it was careful to mention that “if we are to consider the effects of the campaign against illegal drugs on the indirect victims, women are the most affected. by the incident of these HRVs.

“About 61% or 168 of the total victims were in a relationship through marriage or common-law relationship. During this time, five were widowed. 83.3% or 129 of the victims have at least one dependent minor. The difficulty of losing a source of income worsens the already harsh reality of these families being left behind, ”the group said.

Asked about Investigate PH, an international investigation into the human rights situation in the Philippines, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Thursday in Filipino during a press briefing: “Our position is consistent: our legal systems work “.

As it happens

LAST UPDATE: October 20, 2021 – 10:22 a.m.

Reuters wins Pulitzers, America’s most prestigious journalism awards, in international reporting for his article on the methods of police squadrons in President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs and for his photographic reports documenting the Rohingya refugee crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh.

By covering the deadly war on drugs in the Philippines, Reuters journalists Clare Baldwin, Andrew RC Marshall and Manuel Mogato “demonstrated how the president’s ‘war on drugs’ police killed with impunity and have always been at safe from prosecution, “the Reuters editor-in-chief said. says Stephen J. Adler.

October 20, 2021 – 10:22 a.m.

The Ministry of Justice publishes information on the 52 cases of the war on drugs which it examines on the basis of police records.

Since 2016, no criminal complaint has been filed.

The DOJ notes that the cases need to be further investigated with a view to possible filing of criminal charges against misguided police officers.

February 28, 2021 – 1:29 p.m.

The bloody shootout between police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in Quezon City last Wednesday is expected to speed up implementation of better oversight of law enforcement operations, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph said Front.

Recto says law enforcement should have body cameras as well as dashboard cameras in their vehicles.

“This is again a bloody recall of missing but vital equipment in the police – video recording devices, especially during operations,” Recto said.

Recto said in a statement that he sponsored with Senator JV Ejercito an allocation of 5.4 billion pesos in the 2017 national budget for new police equipment, including body cameras, “but it took four years and five PNP leaders to purchase some 2,600 coins. “

February 25, 2021 – 4:42 p.m.

The heads of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Philippine National Police promise a full investigation into the shooting along Commonweatlh Avenue on Wednesday evening.

They say they will rely on the findings of the joint commission of inquiry formed to investigate the incident, in which three law enforcement officials were killed.

PDEA chief executive Wilkins Villanueva said he could not give operational details yet, saying these were still under investigation.

Police General Debold Sinas said the findings will be made public as soon as they are available.

February 25, 2021 – 1:04 p.m.

Senator Risa Hontiveros has said she will call for a Senate investigation into the shooting between Quezon City police officers and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency staff as part of a drug operation.

“We need to dig deeper into the issue. It is very alarming that this is not the first time that such an “unfortunate” has occurred. The National Capital Region Police Bureau (NCRPO) has admitted that this has happened on several occasions. “should be rare, not common,” says Hontiveros.

According to initial reports, the police carried out a purchase operation but were unaware that they were dealing with PDEA personnel.

“How could this have happened in the first place?” Why did the shooting last as long as an hour? Hindi ba pwedeng magkalinawan, even in the first few minutes, that a bad encounter breaks out? Hontiveros adds.

February 24, 2021 – 9:12 p.m.

Management of the Ever Commonwealth Mall confirms that there was a shooting outside the mall on Wednesday.

“We have secured all access to the mall so that all shoppers are safe inside,” he says.

“Our priority right now is to ensure the safety of employees and the public.”

He adds that the leadership is coordinating with the Philippine National Police on the situation.

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