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Populism abroad
#1
Quote:Between July 1 and August 20, about 900 people were killed in police operations, with another 1,100 people killed in incidents unrelated to police operations. But one of the most troubling aspects of those deaths is how they've been meted out. While police have killed a significant number of people, most of the killings appear to have been carried out by vigilantes and other civilians, some pressed into service as contract killers. "My first job was two years ago in this province nearby. I felt really scared and nervous because it was my first time," a woman going by the name Maria told the BBC in August. She was part of a team that included several women, who are often able to approach targets without raising suspicions. "One time, they needed a woman," Maria told the BBC. "My husband tapped me to do the job. When I saw the man I was supposed to kill, I got near him and I shot him." Throughout his presidential campaign, Duterte emphasized that his policy on the country's drug dealers and users was "kill them all," a statement that elicited both approval and shock. He also promised bounties to police who killed drug dealers and exhorted regular Filipinos to kill or arrest suspects — a request other politicians have echoed.
Philippines vigilante drug killings - Business Insider

Quote:The poor in the barangays—as the smallest units of municipal organization in the Philippines are called—pay the highest price. In these impoverished communities, children play beside open sewers, families often share one room, and, for a few people, shabu is an escape—both psychologically and financially. “A lot of the people involved in the drug market have no other opportunity for income, so a lot of that money also goes to support families in communities,” says Clarke Jones, a researcher at the Australian National University who studies the Philippine prison system and the drug trade within it. Rightly fearing for their lives, Filipinos are surrendering in droves. More than 700,000 people have turned themselves in to the authorities for drug-related offenses since Duterte took office, according to police data. Rehabilitation is an option for only a few thousand, owing to the scarcity of government-approved centers. Other than the grave, that leaves prison, which even by Philippine standards is a special kind of hell. On a recent visit to Manila’s Las Piñas City Jail, TIME estimated that about 50 men were sharing a 3-by-3-m cell
Inside Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s War On Drugs | TIMEObama’s Trickle-Up Economics - The New York Times

Quote:Duterte once even vowed to kill his own children if he caught them using drugs. That’s how he talks. On the campaign trail, Duterte joked that he “should have been first” in the 1989 rape of an Australian missionary in Davao, where he spent 22 years as mayor, and publicly branded his daughter as a “drama queen” after she revealed that she had been raped. The statements were seen as salty speech, not evidence of an ungoverned mind. His boast of the “1,700” suspected criminals killed by death squads when he was mayor—correcting, on live television, allegations that the number was 700—created no uproar. He compares the killings under him to police violence in the U.S.: “They’re shooting blacks there,” he said during a press briefing. “What’s the difference between America and the Philippines? Nothing.”
Inside Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s War On Drugs | TIME
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#2
Quote:Since Rodrigo Duterte was elected president of the Philippines last June, he has waged a brutal crackdown on drug dealers and addicts. Nearly 4,000 people have been killed by government forces, and Duterte has invoked the Holocaust to describe the scope of his ambition. “Hitler massacred three million Jews,” he declared in September. “Now there is three million drug addicts. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them.” 

Duterte’s authoritarian rhetoric has elicited sharp condemnations from human rights advocates and foreign leaders. But there’s another front in his war on drugs that has escaped international attention. Last fall, as I reported on the violence in the Philippines, I picked up an ardent critic on social media. Her name was Madelyn, and she was young and attractive, with long hair and deep, brown eyes. When I posted about Duterte’s war on drugs, Madelyn responded with derision. “Maybe u are anti-Duterte TROLL,” she tweeted. “A foreigner who knows NOTHING bout my country.” She seemed to devote her waking hours to spreading her love of Duterte and assailing anyone who questioned him, posting dozens of times a day. “My President and I am proud of him,” one tweet read. “Get lost critics!” 

Madelyn, it appears, is part of a vast and effective “keyboard army” that Duterte and his backers have mobilized to silence dissenters and create the illusion that he enjoys widespread public support. Each day, hundreds of thousands of supporters—both paid and unpaid—take to social media to proselytize Duterte’s deadly gospel. They rotate through topics like corruption, drug abuse, and U.S. interference, and post links to hastily cobbled-together, hyper-partisan web sites at all hours of the day and night. Though social media is designed to make each user appear to be a unique individual whose views are her own, Madelyn and her cohort stick exclusively to the Duterte talking points, without any of the cat GIFs, funny asides, jokes with friends, or other elements that populate most people’s feeds.
Rodrigo Duterte’s Army of Online Trolls | New Republic

Quote:Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has said he would impose martial law if the drug problem became "very virulent", just a month after dismissing as "nonsense" any suggestion he might do so. Duterte has made a brutal war on drugs a central pillar of his administration since he took office in the middle of last year. Since July, more than 6,000 people have been killed in the anti-drug campaign, in both police operations and unexplained killings by suspected "vigilantes". More than 1 million drug peddlers and users have been arrested or have surrendered to authorities.
Philippines' Duterte says he may impose martial law if drug problem 'virulent' | Reuters

Quote:Shadowy assassins are still killing poor Filipinos, despite a police withdrawal from Rodrigo Duterte's deadly drug war, a rights group said Friday, as Manila filed criminal charges against the president's top critic. Duterte ordered the police to step back at the end of January after a seven-month campaign that had left 6,485 people dead, many in unexplained circumstances. The latest tally given to AFP on Friday showed an extra 146 people had died since the January 31 stand-down was ordered, which rights groups said showed extrajudicial killings were continuing. "The targets are still the same, as far as we are concerned: people linked to drugs and who live in poor neighbourhoods," Wilnor Papa, campaign official for the Philippine branch of Amnesty International, told AFP. Papa said unknown assailants were now killing between nine and 10 people daily. This compared with about 30 people a day being killed by police and unknown assailants when officers were still leading the crackdown. 

Although the anti-drugs campaign is popular among voters, campaigners say it has granted a licence to kill to anyone with a grudge and a gun. But critics are finding it increasingly tough to get a hearing in the Philippines. On Friday the government filed criminal charges against Senator Leila de Lima, a justice secretary in the previous government and former human rights commissioner who is one of Duterte's most vocal opponents. The charges allege she ran a drug trafficking ring using criminals in the country's largest prison when she was justice secretary. De Lima said in a statement that the charges, which could land her a 30-year jail term, were solely aimed at silencing her opposition.
More murders in Philippine drug war despite police pull-back - Business Insider
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#3
Quote:The Philippine police chief stopped the use of the national police force in anti-drug operations Monday and disbanded all police anti-narcotics units after the president's brutal crackdown was used as a cover by rogue officers to kidnap and kill a South Korean man for money. Police Director-General Ronald Dela Rosa told police officers he would use the indefinite halt of anti-drug operations to launch a massive purge of police involved in crimes. A counter-intelligence force would be formed to catch rogue officers and records of those previously implicated in crimes would be reviewed. "No more drug operations now," Dela Rosa told police officers at the main police camp, without indicating how long the ban would last. 

Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at U.S.-based Human Rights Watch, said the temporary stoppage in police anti-drug operations to allow an internal police purge "is nothing less than an empty public relations gesture unless he seeks meaningful accountability for the more than 7,000 Filipinos killed" in the crackdown.
Philippine anti-drug operations halted over police scandal

Quote:A closed-door caucus on Tuesday saw 10 senators vote to reopen a previous Senate inquiry into allegations Duterte created and commanded a “death squad” while serving as Davao City’s mayor. Eight administration senators opposed the motion while the rest abstained, a reversal that surprised even Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, a Duterte ally. The move was triggered by the public confession of Arturo Lascanas, a recently retired police officer who was personally close to Duterte and an alleged leader of the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS) vigilante group. Human Rights Watch, a US rights lobby, has reported the death squad was behind 1,424 extrajudicial killings. Duterte and his supporters have consistently denied the death squad existed.  At a press conference, Lascanas claimed that the death squad was real and that then-mayor Duterte allegedly paid its members between P20,000 to P100,000 for each targeted killing. He added that on top of the bounties, he received a monthly allowance of P100,000 from the Office of the Mayor. He also admitted his involvement in the 2003 murder of Juan “Jun” Pala, a radio broadcaster who was frequently critical of Duterte on his program.
Will killing claims bring down Duterte? | Asia Times
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#4
Quote:Police in the Philippines have killed more than 30 people in a series of raids near Manila, in the bloodiest night yet of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugsSupt Romeo Caramat said 67 police operations in various parts of Bulacan, a province north of the capital, had left 32 “drug personalities” dead and more than 100 others arrested. Human rights groups have repeatedly warned that Duterte, nicknamed “the Punisher” by his supporters for his approach to policing, may be overseeing crimes against humanity in his brutal anti-drugs campaign, which has left thousands dead. Since Duterte became president last July, government figures show police have killed 3,451 “drug personalities”. More than 2,000 other people have been killed in drug-related crimes and thousands more murdered in unexplained circumstances, according to police data. Duterte has vowed, however, to protect officers who kill drug suspects under suspicious circumstances.
Philippine police kill 32 in bloodiest night of Duterte’s war on drugs | World news | The Guardian
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#5
Amazing stuff.. Random killings, death squads, settling scores, police killing with impunity, also to protect their own drugs rings from the competition, and what does Trump have to say?

Quote:Since coming to power in June 2016, Rodrigo Duterte has waged a brutal, bloody campaign against drugs that has left over 9,000 dead. The Philippines President promised a crackdown on crime during his electoral campaign, and said that he would be “happy to slaughter” the millions of addicts in his country.

The past two weeks have been especially deadly, and over 90 people were killed in one three-day span. The murder of a 17-year-old high school student has attracted particular outrage. CCTV footage showed him being frog-marched away by police to be executed, contradicting claims that police only shoot when fired upon.


The United Nations, including U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley, have repeatedly condemned Duterte’s government for human rights violations. But, in a phone call prior to his inauguration, Donald Trump praised the “unbelievable job” that Duterte was doing. “I just wanted to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem,” he said. “Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing, and I just wanted to call and tell you that.”
Rodrigo Duterte’s son is accused of involvement with massive drug deal – ThinkProgress

And there might be a new twist:

Quote:The son of Philippine strongman Rodrigo Duterte has denied any involvement with a seized Chinese shipment of 1,300 pounds of crystal meth, worth roughly $125 million. Paolo Duterte has been accused by opponents of helping to facilitate the entry of the massive shipment into the port of Manila, along with his brother-in-law Manases Carpio. According to Bloomberg Politics, a broker who handled the shipment claimed the smugglers had links with the two men.

Philippine authorities filed charges against the broker, Mark Taguba, in July. At a hearing at the House of Representatives on August 7 he said that he paid one million pesos a week to a group in Davao in the south of the country, where Paolo Duterte is a vice mayor.
He added that while he never met with Duterte or Carpio directly, their names were often mentioned and protection money was accepted on their behalf.
Rodrigo Duterte’s son is accused of involvement with massive drug deal – ThinkProgress
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#6
This was always going to see the light of day. Where you give people with arms impunity to do whatever they like and root for them, the results are never pretty..

Quote:The entire police force in part of the Philippine capital is to be relieved of duty, after the controversial deaths of three teenagers. Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde said 1,200 officers from the Caloocan district would be retrained and then assigned to other units. The move comes amid growing scrutiny of police operations amid President Rodrigo Duterte's anti-drugs war. The most high-profile case involved a boy killed in Caloocan on 16 August. Police say Kian Loyd Delos Santos, who was 17, ran from them and then opened fire, so they shot him. But his parents say he had no involvement in drugs. A witness said police tried to force a gun into his hand and CCTV footage shows a boy, said to be him, being dragged away by police, contradicting claims he ran.

Police figures say 3,800 suspects have been killed in anti-drugs operations since he took office. Several thousand more unexplained killings have also been attributed to the crackdown.

But rights groups have voiced serious concerns over extrajudicial killings. Earlier this year, Mr Duterte briefly suspended his crackdown to clean up the police force after officers seized a South Korean businessman under the guise of a drugs raid, killed him and sought a ransom from his family.
Manila district police force removed after teen deaths - BBC News

And of course they don't like criticism:

Quote:Lawmakers in the Philippines have voted to give an annual budget of just 1,000 pesos ($20; £15) to the public body investigating the country's controversial war on drugs. The cut to the budget of the Commission on Human Rights was supported by a margin of 119 to 32 in Congress. Speaker of the House Pantaleon Alvarez labelled the commission "useless". But critics say the move is punishment for the body's staunch criticism of President Rodrigo Duterte's drugs war.
Duterte drug war: Philippines cuts rights body's budget to $20 - BBC News
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