In Philippines, Bodies Pile Up in Duterte’s War on Drugs

BenarNews staff

Luzviminda Siapo (right), a Filipino domestic worker employed in Kuwait, arrives at a funeral wake in Navotas, north of Manila, for her son, Raymart, who was shot dead by kidnappers after neighbors complained to a village watchman that he was selling drugs, April 3, 2017. (AFP)


Police officers conduct a house-to-house search for illegal drugs at an informal settlers’ community in Manila, Oct. 6, 2016. (AFP)


Police operatives take position as they serve a search warrant to a resident believed to be a drug dealer in Pasig City, a Manila suburb, Sept. 5, 2016. (AFP)


Suspected drug users are rounded up during a police operation at an informal settlers’ community at the Manila Islamic Center, Oct. 7, 2016. (AFP)


Relatives react after police gunned down an alleged drug dealer in Manila, Sept. 24, 2016. (AFP)


A woman weeps over the body of her father, an alleged drug dealer who was killed during a police operation in Manila, Jan. 5, 2017. (AFP)


Filipino Catholics demonstrate in Manila against alleged extrajudicial killings, Feb. 18, 2017. (AFP)


Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he answers questions from reporters at Manila International Airport, March 23, 2017. (AFP)


Embalmer Orlando Cadiente takes a nap inside the morgue of the Veronica Memorial Chapel in Manila, where unclaimed bodies of alleged drug dealers are kept, Dec. 2, 2016. (AFP)


Luzviminda Siapo hugs her son’s coffin during his wake in Navotas, north of Manila, April 3, 2017. (AFP)

Rodrigo Duterte was already known as a tough guy when he became president of the Philippines last June, a reputation that has solidified through his administration’s war on drugs.

He entered office with the nickname “Duterte Harry” – inspired by the San Francisco cop played by Clint Eastwood on the silver screen. That stemmed from Duterte’s reputation for coming down hard on illegal drugs and narcotics users in his hometown of Davao City in the south, where he served as mayor for more than 22 years.

During his presidency, Duterte has declared a nationwide war on drugs, and it has been bloody.

Police officers so far have killed almost 2,800 people in purported gun battles, while another 6,000 deaths of suspected drug dealers and users are being investigated, according to reports from news outlets and human rights organizations.

Duterte has made no apologies for the killings, but he also has denied allegations that these extra-judicial deaths are state-sponsored.

In the meantime, business has been brisk for funeral homes, as the drug-related killings have kept Filipino undertakers and embalmers busy.

The campaign against drugs has caused suffering among Filipinos who’ve lost loved ones.


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