In such a short period of time, he has already left a bloody trail in a series of vigilante-style killings. This unsurprisingly alarmed human rights group and some politicians.
Since his inauguration on June 30, 72 alleged drug dealers were already killed by police and vigilante groups. However, if counted since his election victory on May 10, the death toll rises to 119.
Nine more killings happened last weekend, which included an unidentified man found in Manila with a cardboard sign on his torso that read “I Am a Pusher”.
Human rights lawyer and national chairman of the Free Legal Assistance Group, called this series of killings “a nuclear explosion of violence”.
In a blog for the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, he wrote, “Do we really want to give the man with the gun the power to judge who are criminals and to kill them? To decide who is bad and who is good, who deserves to live and who deserves to die?”
The spate of killings has also drawn the attention of international rights groups.
"Human Rights Watch is concerned that President Duterte's electoral platform, which included repeated promises to kill those deemed to be criminals and drug dealers, may be interpreted by some as a legitimization of the unlawful concept of extrajudicial killings as an acceptable approach to crime control," Asia Deputy Director PhelimKine said.
He also expressed that each case doesn’t only need to be looked into, but that it’s also crucial that there would be an inquiry into the killings that took place since June 30 and action taken to stop it.
Duterte has been previously compared to Donald Trump whose platform also capitalized on law and order and ending corruption. Duterte, who is a former mayor of Davao, was famed for solving the city’s drug and crime problems. His tactics, however, earned him the nicknames “The Punisher” and “Duterte Harry” because of more than 1,000 extrajudicial killings using the Davao Death Squad—to which he is allegedly linked.
Last week, he dropped the names of five high-ranking police officials who are purportedly involved in illegal drug trade. He ordered hem to leave their posts. In addition to this, he also named three Chinese nationals who are major drug traffickers.
In a televised speech, he warned that they will be executed if they continued their activities on illegal drugs.
Two are currently behind bars but are believed to be still in operation, while the other one is abroad. “The moment he steps off the plane, he will die,” said Duterte.
But not everyone in the government support his means. Senator Leila de Lima has called last wek for a legislative investigation into the series of killings. However, Duterte is still supported for his brutal approach to fighting drugs and criminality. He has also called for the reviving of the death penalty, a cause supported by boxing legend and newly-elected senator Manny Pacquiao.
Top legal officer Solicitor General Jose Calida was also quoted saying that the Philippine National Police (PN) will not allow anybody to derail the effort to implement the order of the President in the war against crime and drugs. | ASCS - FNPH
SOURCE: USA TODAY
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