Philippines’ Duterte vows to kill more in drug war, use military
MANILA – Agence France-PressePhilippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced Feb. 2 the military would take a leading role in his deadly drug war, while vowing to kill more traffickers and addicts.
“I’m taking in the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] and raising the issue of drugs as a national security threat so that I will call on all the armed forces to assist,” Duterte said as he promised to kill more “son of a bitch” drug addicts.
His comments were the first following a report from Amnesty International that the killings in the drug war, in which more than 6,500 people have died in seven months, may amount to crimes against humanity.
They were also the clearest signal of Duterte’s plans for the drug war, after he admitted this week the police force that had initially led the campaign was “corrupt to the core” and said they would no longer be allowed to take part.
The 71-year-old former state prosecutor 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.
However Duterte has had to sideline the police after a series of scandals emerged over the past month in which police were caught committing murder, kidnapping, extortion and robbery using the drug war as cover.
In one of the highest-profile cases, anti-drug officers kidnapped a South Korean businessman then murdered him inside the national police headquarters as part of an extortion racket, according to an official investigation.
Amnesty on Feb. 1 accused police of systemic human rights abuses in the drug war, including shooting dead defenseless people, fabricating evidence, paying assassins to murder drug addicts and stealing from those they killed.
It also said police were being paid by their superiors to kill. Amnesty said it documented victims as young as eight years old.