| 30 May 2024, Thursday |

Philippines rights body’s drug war probe bolsters police abuse allegations

According to a report released on Tuesday by the Philippines’ human rights commission, scores of victims were shot in the head, chest, and abdomen in President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug campaign, indicating that there was a purpose to kill.

The report by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), which backs up conclusions by the Justice Ministry that found foul play in dozens of violent police operations, is the latest to cast doubt on the government’s drug-war narrative.

From 2016 to February 2020, the commission investigated 579 occurrences of “drug-related extrajudicial killings” and violence, 451 of which were reportedly linked to police operations and included 705 victims, according to the commission.

Records of at least 87 individuals showed they sustained multiple gunshot wounds, usually on the head, chest, trunk and abdomen, while blunt force was used on some, CHR said.

Duterte’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while the police said they will look into the CHR report.

Duterte has defended the police and argued that all those killed were drug dealers who resisted arrest.

The commission said police officers involved in 77 incidents it investigated were recommended to be “awarded, rewarded or recognized.”

The Philippines has come under pressure from the United Nations to investigate allegations of systematic murders of drug suspects, and the International Criminal Court recently announced it would investigate Duterte’s anti-drug campaign.

  • Reuters