Duterte continues war on drugs as 800 have been killed since his election

CCTV News

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is waging war on drug suspects. He has publicly named over 160 judges, mayors, legislators, police and military personnel allegedly involved in narcotics and has warned them to surrender.

CCTV’s Barnaby Lo reports from Manila.

Duterte continues war on drugs as 800 have been killed since his election

Duterte continues war on drugs as 800 have been killed since his election

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is waging war on drug suspects. He has publicly named over 160 judges, mayors, legislators, police and military personnel allegedly involved in narcotics and has warned them to surrender. CCTV's Barnaby Lo reports from Manila.

Duterte’s actions come even after the United Nations called for an end to extra-judicial killings in the Philippines. More than 800 drug suspects have been killed by police or vigilantes since his election in May.

Twenty-eight-year-old Christian Cartagena wanted to live. A few weeks ago, not long after it became apparent Duterte was literally dead serious about his war against illegal drugs, he turned himself in to police.

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“After he surrendered, he felt free. He went everywhere without a worry. He didn’t have to be afraid anymore, he told us,” Christian’s father Cyril Cartagena said.

In the end, Christian was wrong. Two weeks after he was released by authorities, his body was found lifeless and riddled with bullets. His father couldn’t say if he sold drugs or if he was just a drug user, but he had become a casualty of Duterte’s war on drugs.

When Duterte was campaigning for the presidency, he promised to wage a bloody war against drugs and crime. The fulfillment of that promise has been swift.

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Since taking office on June 30th, hundreds of drug suspects have been killed. Many of them in legitimate police operations, but a significant number also by unidentified assailants.

Everyday, bodies are found murdered in cold blood, often accompanied by a sign that says, “I’m a drug dealer.”

Michael Siaron was one of them. His case, captured in what Duterte has described as overly dramatic photos, has drawn the world’s attention, prompting local and international civil society groups and the United Nations to call for an end to the killing spree.

“Impunity persists because of the feeling that they will never be prosecuted. With these kinds of pronouncements, this gives the perpetrators the courage to do it because they know that somebody is behind them officially,” National Union of People’s Lawyers Rey Cortez said.

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Duterte has said his government will investigate extrajudicial killings, but police officers who were just “carrying out their duty” have nothing to worry about.

“Did you see anybody being killed by the police without firearm? There’s none,” Philippine National Police Dir. General Ronald Dela Rosa said. “I stand by my men.”

Despite the controversy, many Filipinos are rallying behind Duterte’s policy.

“If they’re menaces to our society, they need to be dealt with an iron fist,” one man said.

Another woman said she believes that it’s only drug traffickers who kill others that are being killed.

But Christian Cartagena never killed anyone. He thought he was given a second chance, until someone decided he deserved no less than death.