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Thread: NSFW - Philippines war on drugs - 6000 lives taken in five months

  1. #101
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    https://www.rappler.com/nation/23485...ational-report

    MANILA, Philippines – The human rights violations under President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-illegal drugs campaign have “reached the threshold of crimes against humanity,” Amnesty International said.

    In its latest report, “They Just Kill,” published on Monday, July 8, the human rights group said the extrajudicial killings are “deliberate and systematic” in nature and appear to be part of a “government-orchestrated attack against poor people” allegedly involved in illegal drugs.

    Duterte’s violent war on drugs has led to at least 6,000 suspected drug personalities killed in police operations. Human rights groups meanwhile pegged the number at more than 20,000 including those killed vigilante-style. (READ: The Impunity Series)

    There is already sufficient evidence to conclude that these incidents constitute crimes against humanity, which are defined as “widespread or systematic attacks directed against any civilian population,” Amnesty International said.

    The report is the second the group released on Duterte's drug war with its 2017 report detailing stories of alleged police corruption and abuse.

    Same patterns

    The human rights group investigated 20 incidents (18 in police operations with two by unknown individuals) with a total of 27 people killed in Bulacan. The team interviewed a total of 58 people, including families of victims and witnesses of the executions. (READ: Central Luzon: New killing fields in Duterte's drug war)

    The report identified patterns in “practically all cases” it examined, including police claims that the victims fought back despite families saying their killed relatives did not own a gun as they have no money to even get one. (READ: In the PH drug war, it's likely EJK when...)

    “The victims of the drug-related killings examined by Amnesty International were overwhelmingly from poor and marginalized communities, in line with past research findings showing that the government’s anti-drug efforts chiefly target the poor,” it said.

    The findings of the latest report corroborate previous documentations by Amnesty International and other groups, which also include a “consistent pattern of police tampering with crime scenes, rigging evidence, and falsifying reports.”

    Families are also unable to file cases against those responsible. They told Amnesty International that their requests for documents, including police reports or blotters, are denied. (READ: Duterte gov't allows 'drug war' deaths to go unsolved)

    “Police reports that describe the circumstances of their loved one’s death are necessary for challenging the police’s version of events,” the report said. “As such, building a case almost always hinges upon the sharing of documents by police, which is now a dead end.”

    They are also “turned away from police stations, either informed that the relevant investigator was not there, or given the runaround from station to station.”

    These findings are consistent with what other groups, including the Commission on Human Rights, have said pertaining to requests. State agents, mainly the Philippine National Police, have repeatedly denied the release of documents related to the war on drugs. (READ: Evading probes? The many times Duterte admin didn't give drug war documents)


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    In April 2018, the Supreme Court ordered the release of tens of thousands of documents related to the killings to the Center for International Law (CenterLaw) and the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG). The decision thumbed down Solicitor General Jose Calida’s argument that arguing the release will put national security at risk.

    Investigations needed

    Amnesty International called on Duterte to end his drug war and enforce a policy that “puts the protection of people’s health and rights at the center,” among others.

    The UN HRC, it said, should “adopt a resolution to create an independent, impartial and effective investigation into human rights violations in the context of the ‘war on drugs,’ including into the commission of crimes under international law, to establish the facts and circumstances, and take steps toward ensuring justice for the victims and their families.”

    A resolution filed by Iceland seeking actions against the killings is up for voting at the UN HRC. If approved, it will request rights chief Michelle Bachelet prepare a comprehensive report and will urge the government to cooperate with UN offices and mechanisms by facilitating country visits and “refraining from all acts of intimidation or retaliation.”

    The ICC, meanwhile, is conducting its own preliminary examination which will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to establish that the case against Duterte falls under its jurisdiction. (READ: Duterte throws out decade-long fight for the International Criminal Court)

    In December 2018, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor said it has “further closely followed relevant developments in the Philippines and will continue to do so.” – Rappler.com

  2. #102
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    https://thewire.in/world/un-to-probe...rug-war-deaths

    Geneva: The UN Human Rights Council voted on Thursday to set up an investigation into mass killings during Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s so-called ‘war on drugs’, a step that activists said was long overdue.

    Duterte’s government says police have killed about 6,600 people in shootouts with suspected drug dealers since he was elected in 2016 on a platform of crushing crime. Activists say the toll is at least 27,000.

    The first-ever resolution on the Philippines, led by Iceland, was adopted by a vote of 18 countries in favour and 14 against, including China, with 15 abstentions, including Japan.

    Also read: Indonesia: President Widodo Orders Officers to Shoot Drug Traffickers

    “This is not just a step towards paying justice for the thousands of families of victims of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, but it is also a message that we collectively send out to those who have praised President Duterte,” said Ellecer “Budit” Carlos of the Manila-based rights group iDefend.

    “This war on drugs, as we have repeatedly said, it’s a sham war,” he told a news briefing in Geneva.


    Jennelyn Olaires, 26, cradles the body of her partner, who was killed in a street by a vigilante group, according to police, in a spate of drug-related killings in Pasay city, Metro Manila, Philippines. Photo: Reuters

    Philippine activists say tens of thousands are being killed as police terrorise poor communities, using the cursory drug “watch lists” to identify suspected users or dealers, and executing many in the guise of sting operations.

    Police deny that, saying all their killings were in self-defence.

    Also read: ‘Police Can Kill If People Resist Arrest’, Says Phillipines’s Duterte

    Myca Ulpina, a three-year-old killed on June 29 near Manila, was among the latest and youngest known victims. Police say her father, Renato, had used his daughter as a human shield.

    ‘Maliciously Partisan’

    Duterte’s spokesman, Salvador Panelo, questioned the validity of a resolution not backed by the majority of council members, saying Filipinos overwhelmingly backed the president’s unique leadership and approach.

    “The resolution is grotesquely one-sided, outrageously narrow, and maliciously partisan,” Panelo said in a lengthy statement issued overnight.

    “It reeks of nauseating politics completely devoid of respect for the sovereignty of our country, even as it is bereft of the gruesome realities of the drug menace.”


    Activists and families of drug war victims display placards during a protest against the war on drugs by President Rodrigo Duterte in Quezon city, Metro Manila in the Philippines. Photo: Reuters/Eloisa Lopez

    The delegation from the Philippines, which is among the council’s 47 members, had lobbied hard against the resolution, which asks national authorities to prevent extrajudicial killings and cooperate with UN human rights boss Michelle Bachelet, who is to report her findings in June 2020.

    Philippines ambassador Evan Garcia said the Duterte administration was committed to upholding justice, adding, “We will not tolerate any form of disrespect or acts of bad faith. There will be consequences, far-reaching consequences.”

    Also read: Sri Lanka Reinstates Death Penalty, HRW Terms It ‘Extremely Disturbing.’

    Laila Matar of New York-based Human Rights Watch criticised his comments.

    “It was quite clear that they threatened consequences for those who had supported the resolution, which in turn makes us concerned for the many human rights defenders, civil society activists and journalists on the ground,” she told the briefing.

    Duterte, asked by reporters in Manila whether he would allow UN rights officials access to investigate, said, “Let them state their purpose, and I will review it.”

    If Duterte permitted the investigation and it proceeded impartially, Panelo said, “We are certain its result will only lead to the humiliation of the investigators, as well as of Iceland and the seventeen other nations.”

  3. #103
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    https://thediplomat.com/2019/07/fili...defenders-law/

    During President Rodrigo Duterte’s three years in office, 134 human rights defenders have been killed in the Philippines, a trend that has increased at an alarming rate in recent months. Two of the most recent victims are Ryan Hubilla and Nelly Bagasala, members of the human rights organization Karapatan. They were killed in broad daylight on June 15 by unknown gunmen in Sorsogon province. Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Karapatan’s secretary-general, called these killings evidence of the Duterte regime’s “promotion of the culture of violence and impunity among its uniformed men and vigilante-styled assailants… These murders indicate that the human rights crisis in the Philippines is only getting worse.” Karapatan also reports that its workers have experienced military and police surveillance.

    Human rights groups are confronting this crisis from multiple angles — including a legislative solution that seeks to improve the security and basic protection of human rights defenders. For more than a decade, a range of grassroots, justice, and women’s groups have worked with progressive lawmakers in the country to push for the Human Rights Defenders Bill (or House Bill 9199). This proposed law would recognize HRD rights and clarify the state’s obligation to protect 17 HRD freedoms, including freedom from intimidation. It would also create a HRD Protection Committee, which could take action against violators of the law, and outlines steps for redress for activists, including specifying gender-based attacks against women HRDs and LGBTQ activists. Two of the bill’s primary authors are representatives from GABRIELA Women’s Party (GWP), Arlene Brosas and Emmi de Jesus.

    HB 9199 recently passed in the House of Representatives, and will now move to the Senate where detained opposition lawmaker, Leila de Lima, authored the same initiative. The Senate will likely take up a vote in July.

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    A Culture of Impunity

    Why is this important? In 2018, the Philippines was the most dangerous country in Asia for environmental and land defenders, according to Global Witness. Front Line Defenders’ 2018 global analysis revealed that these defenders are also among the highest risk groups across Asia, targeted by states, corporations, local vested interest groups, and paid thugs. The Philippines saw a record-high 60 HRDs killed in 2017 alone, and, according to Karapatan, at least 613 defenders have been killed since 2001. Along with Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico, the Philippines is among the six countries that account for 80 percent of the deaths of rights defenders worldwide.

    Since he assumed power in 2016, President Duterte has openly expressed his aversion towards human rights. “I don’t care about human rights, believe me,” he said in 2016. In 2017, he was more explicit: “Do not believe these human rights activists. I’ll kill you along with drug addicts; I’ll decapitate you.” In this context, justice groups have taken a two-pronged strategy: continue to lobby for the HRD bill, while also continuing to do their human rights work at great risk. HRDs are preparing for the worst, especially now that Duterte has consolidated his power with majority support in all three branches of government.

    “The murders, harassment, and intimidation are part of an orchestrated move of this government to normalize their repressive policies and to inculcate into Filipinos’ minds that state violence and intimidation are the only way to solve the ills of society,” Palabay said. Duterte has already used his executive powers to legitimize the crackdown on HRDs. In addition to the repressive martial law in Mindanao, there is the Oplan Sauron in Negros, an internal security operation plan against alleged leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines. In major cities, the SEMPO plan (Synchronized Enhanced Management of Police Operations) employs “shock and awe” tactics: synchronized besieging of targeted villages, premeditated killings and arrests, and continued issuing of warrants, even signed blank warrants for whomever the police and military wish to arrest or kill. These operational plans all fall under the national-level counterinsurgency program previously called Oplan Kapayapaan (Operational Plan Peace) and now Joint Campaign Plan Kapanatagan (Stability), which increasingly target human rights workers, on top of peasants and indigenous people.

    Women at the Forefront of HRD Protection

    Women human rights defenders here face elevated threats of sexual violence and gendered attacks. Yet Women HRDs across the Philippines are organizing communities, building collective protection, and mobilizing urgent action while also advocating for HRD protection legislation with allies inside Congress. Among many feminist and women-led organizations, GABRIELA and Karapatan illustrate the convergence of “inside and outside” strategies – an alignment of lobbying and organizing.

    GABRIELA, one of the largest grassroots women’s organizations in the country, formed a women’s political party in 2001 to promote the rights and welfare of marginalized people. Today, GABRIELA Women’s Party files more pro-women and pro-people’s bills than any other political party. In a recent JASS Southeast Asia webinar on the changing context in the region, GABRIELA member Sharon Cabusao-Silva said, “We are trying to link with as many organizations are possible to help us in our fight against this dictatorship in our country,” which is why GABRIELA relies on the power of grassroots activism and public policy.

    Meanwhile, human rights organization Karapatan is focused on pushing all levels of governance – from city councils to the National Congress – to adopt protections for HRDs and pass resolutions in support of the HRD bill (the Iloilo City council recently did just that).

    With the eyes of the world on the Philippines, the Duterte administration may find it harder to violate human rights at will. With international pressure and solidarity, and the passage of the HRD bill, there’s hope yet for improvements in the safety and protection of human rights defenders across the country. “With the human rights situation in the Philippines deteriorating, we now appeal to the international community to stand with us,” said Cabusao-Silva. “Along with solid grassroots organizing in the communities, global solidarity is critical at this time.”

    Reversing these trends will require more than an HRD bill, but the passage of this bill would create formal accountability for Duterte and others in government, which would make it harder for them to act with total disregard for human rights. “This bill, if passed into law, should provide stronger accountability measures for state actors who systematically and routinely violate people’s rights,” said Palabay.

  4. #104
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    https://www.rappler.com/nation/23571...fore-sona-2019

    MANILA, Phlippines – Three years into the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, the government's anti-illegal drug campaign has claimed over 5,500 lives, according to the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

    The PDEA’s latest count, from July 1, 2016 to June 30 this year, showed that lives of 5,526 people were claimed in the course of 134,583 government anti-drug operations. So far, 193,086 drug personalities have been arrested in that period. Majority of the operations were carried out by the Philippine National Police (PNP).

    This data showed a continuous climb in the number of deaths, with an additional 476 kills since the end of 2018. Prior to this, the government recorded 5,050 suspects killed in anti-drug operations as of November 30, 2018. (READ: The Impunity Series)

    Along with the high death toll, the government also reported 7,054 "high value targets" and 681 government workers were arrested in anti-drug operations. Among the government workers were 323 government employees, 282 elected officials, and 76 uniformed personnel.

    Aside from this, the Philippine National Police said 2,367 cops have been dismissed from service as part of its internal cleansing program.

    The PDEA's findings are part of #RealNumbersPH, which is the government's effort to counter what it called a "false narrative" on the war on drugs.

    Outside the PDEA's count, however, rights groups estimate the drug war to have claimed as much as 27,000 lives, which included vigilante-style killings. (READ: PH drug war killings reach 'threshold of crimes against humanity' – report)

    Halfway mark: In the previous SONA, Duterte vowed his drug war would not be sidelined as he dismissed international criticism over his campaign. The President vowed his anti-drug campaign would be "as chilling as on the day it began."

    Duterte amped up his actions by releasing a list tagging politicians of supposedly being involved in illegal drug operations just weeks before the 2019 midterm elections held last May.

    Meanwhile, glaring gaps in the government's anti-drug campaign have prompted certain sectors to question the operation before the Supreme Court. The petitioners were asking the High Court to declare as unconstitutional the anti-drugs campaign.

    In April 2019, the High Court ordered the release of thousands of drug war documents, despite efforts to block it by the Solicitor General.

    Recently, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in July 2019 adopted a resolution to look into drug war killings in the Philippines. It tasked the UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet to write a comprehensive report on the situation in the Philippines and present this to the council. (READ: U.N. rights chief: Deaths in PH anti-drug operations a ‘most serious concern’)

    Malaca?ang, though, has so far shown no signs it would cooperate with the completion of the comprehesive report, instead calling it an "insult" to Filipinos. (READ: On U.N. resolution vs drug war killings: What if Duterte blocks review?)


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    Not yet over: Despite this, the government has claimed the drug war is far from over with officials tagging it as a "protective measure" for "law-abiding citizens" against supposed errant drug users.

    It claimed 13,753 of the 42,045 total barangays have been cleared since June 2019. This leaves 19,215 that have yet to be "cleared."

    This is an additional 3,754 barangays cleared since the start of the year. Prior to this, PDEA reported 9,999 barangays were cleared as of December 31, 2018. – Rappler.com

  5. #105
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    https://www.gulftoday.ae/news/2019/0...ug-war-duterte

    Manolo B. Jara

    President Rodrigo ?Rody? Duterte on Wednesday said he would not face an international tribunal to be presided over by a foreigner, particularly a Caucasian, in connection the the alleged alarming rise in killings from the his brutal and violent war on illegal drugs.

    Duterte also emphasised that despite criticisms and denunciations, he was determined to pursue the campaign he launched when he took over as president three years ago in 2016 to rid the country of illegal drugs, stressing that nobody would do it.

    Duterte was reacting to the decision of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR) to approve a resolution, introduced by Finland, calling for an investigation on the country?s drug war killings in an TV interview with pastor Apollo Quiboloy, a religious leader based in the president?s hometown of Davao City in Mindanao.

    ?Look, at I told you before...I will only face, be tried or face trial in a Philippine court presided by a Filipino judge. Prosecuted by a Filipino. And maybe they can impose death penalty and die in Filipino land,? Duterte said.

    He also pointed out: ?I will not allow a Caucasian asking question while there. You must be stupid. Who are you? I am a Filipino. We have our own courts here. You have to bring me somewhere else? I would not like that. I have my country. I know it is working. Justice is working here.?

    A lawyer by profession, Duterte argued that foreign entities could only intervene if there is a fatal breakdown of justice in a country where nobody is willing to prosecute.

    The Philippine National Police (PNP) earlier reported that more than 6,600 suspects were killed since the campaign started when Duterte took his oath as the country?s first president from Mindanao in July 2016 until June this year.

    However, human rights advocates and critics claimed the death toll could be higher reaching at least 20,000 due to extra-judicial killings blamed on ?vigilante? groups allegedly with close links to the police.

    Aside from the UNHCR, the UN International Criminal Court (ICC) based in The Hague, Netherlands, earlier reported that it was looking into the cases of alleged crimes against humanity filed against Duterte in connection with the war on drugs.

  6. #106
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    https://news.mb.com.ph/2019/07/18/hu...-abusive-acts/

    Various human rights groups and the families of the extra-judicial killings (EJK) victims have called on the government to end these supposed abusive acts and cooperate with the United Nations report process.

    Policemen stand guard near the body of a man killed during what police said was a drug related vigilante killing in Pasig, February 2017. (REUTERS FILE PHOTO /Erik De Castro / MANILA BULLETIN)
    Policemen stand guard near the body of a man killed during what police said was a drug-related vigilante killing in Pasig, February 2017. (REUTERS FILE PHOTO /Erik De Castro / MANILA BULLETIN)

    Representatives of the groups Rise Up for Rights and for Life, Karapatan, Promotion of Church People’s Response, Stop Killing Farmers Campaign and several other human rights advocates have condemned the administration for the spate and alleged continuous abusive acts committed in the country through the years.

    According to the human rights groups and the kin of the alleged EJK victims, the President should act swiftly to put a stop to the alleged bloody campaign against Filipinos.



    From July 2016 to May 2019, the groups citing data from the PNP doubted the factuality that at least 6,600 persons were killed under the President’s war on drugs

    They said the figure runs contrary to the reports from civil society and media groups which revealed that an estimated 27,000 people have been killed in relation to the illegal drug trade as of March 2019.

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    However, these numbers do not include the several killings of farmers and human rights defenders since the President took office.

    According to Karapatan, at least 266 individuals have been killed in line with Duterte’s counterinsurgency campaigns Oplan Kapayapaan and Oplan Kapanatagan.

    At least 216 of them are peasants, including the farmers and farm workers killed in Negros in the course of the PNP and AFP’s implementation of Memorandum number 32.



    Karapatan claimed to have documented 155 human rights defenders killed under the Duterte administration with 11 human rights workers of Karapatan among those killed.

    “Three years under Duterte, the government showed that they remain in a killing frenzy while targeting the poor in its twisted, vigilante, and militarist campaigns. It is high time for all of us to pressure the government and to demand justice for all the victims of their bloody war – in line with the drug war and the counterinsurgency program. We need to put the perpetrators to account because of the violations of their gruesome rights against the Filipino people,” Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor said.

    “It is well-remembered that these series of killings in our streets were caused by the policies, directives, and pronouncements made by the President. His words and orders either direct or indirect have emboldened state forces, mercenaries and hired killers to further violate people’s rights with impunity,” he added.



    Clamor also raised the UN HRC resolution adopted on July 11, 2019, to look at the human rights situation in the country.

    The kin of victims and advocates also called on the government to cooperate with the investigation.

    Since the news on the adoption of the resolution, several government officials including Duterte, Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin, the PNP, and administration-backed senators have responded negatively.

    “The government should stop distorting the principles and concepts of human rights. They must start cooperating with the investigations if they do not have anything to hide. The way that the Duterte government has reacted has been through one shameful statement after another. We challenge them to stop justifying their murderous acts and face the consequences of the policies that have led to the wholesale massacre of poor Filipinos,” Clamor concluded.

    On Wednesday, the groups held a protest action condemning the killings under the Duterte regime in front of Camp Crame and Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.



    The demonstrations were held a few days before Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) and in time for the International Justice Day.

    The protest action also comes alongside the adoption of the Iceland-led UN Human Rights Council resolution on the human rights situation in the Philippines.

  7. #107
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    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...atholic-church

    President Rodrigo Duterte’s violent crackdown has left 20,000 dead, and in a devout country, he has repeatedly hurled insults at bishops, the pope – and even God. But only a handful of Catholic activists are brave enough to speak out. By Adam Willis

    Thu 18 Jul 2019 06.00 BST

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    One of the most famous victims – and a rare survivor – of Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs is a 30-year-old pedicab driver named Francisco Santiago Jr. In September 2016, while cycling through central Manila, Santiago was abducted by a Philippine national police (PNP) officer posing as a passenger. Santiago’s name was not on the “kill list” of the PNP’s now-infamous drug-sting operation known as Oplan Tokhang, or “Operation Knock and Plead”, but he had become a target, nonetheless.

    After he was taken to a police station and beaten for the better part of a day, Santiago was led back into the streets and shot multiple times, suffering wounds to his chest and arms. Thinking him dead, one officer approached Santiago and placed a pistol next to his hand. Santiago waited, barely breathing as blood pooled around him, until he heard the hurried sounds of journalists arriving at the scene. He sat up, pleading for his life and waving his blood-soaked arms in surrender. By the next morning, local newspapers had already assigned Santiago a new name: Lazarus.


    When the officers saw that Santiago was not dead, he was sent to an emergency room and handcuffed to his hospital bed. He spent the following two years in jail on myriad charges, including the illegal possession of a firearm. Last August, when he was finally acquitted, he found sanctuary with a missionary in the Redemptorist order of the Catholic church named Jun Santiago, known to most as Brother Jun.


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    Just as Jun has done for countless families of drug-war victims, he began sheltering Santiago – at Baclaran church, his parish in southern Manila, and various safe houses in the provinces surrounding the capital – offering protection and guidance to a man who had fallen into a precarious position. When Santiago appeared in a Manila courtroom last October, facing trial again for the illegal possession of a firearm (a charge refiled well after the sting), Jun was with him, a buffer against the PNP officers stalking the hallways outside the court, some of them the very same men who had tried to kill him two years earlier.

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    Occupying a vague space between activist, journalist and minister, Jun is the ragged tip of the spear in the Catholic church’s resistance to the war on drugs – a war that has been condemned by international human rights organisations and has, by some estimates, claimed more than 20,000 lives. As a brother of the Redemptorist order, Jun is not technically clergy. He lives among the priests on the forested grounds of Baclaran, but operates as a layman, and often stands out from the company he keeps. His black hair hangs down to his shoulders. His uniform comprises a pair of rustic boots, cuffed jeans and, on that day at the Manila trial court, a Nirvana T-shirt.

    Jun has taken it upon himself to perform a dizzyingly varied set of roles: from menial tasks, such as supplying candles for protest marches, to diplomatic work, such as appealing to eminent prelates for solidarity, to more dangerous missions such as patrolling Manila’s streets at night and racing to crime scenes in order to photograph the dead – hundreds over the past three years. In a political climate where many fear the impulses of a violent president, Jun lives at risk on behalf of his church and thousands of Filipinos threatened by Duterte’s war on drugs. Not yet 50, Jun’s friends joke that he is already on the path to sainthood.

    In the Philippines, where four in five citizens identify as Catholic, the church has emerged as the most prominent voice of dissent against the drug war. The church is also under perpetual assault from a president intent on contesting the very essence of Philippine Catholicism. Having framed his 2015 election campaign as a referendum on the legitimacy of the church, Duterte has forced religious leaders to choose between coveted political capital and their moral mandates. In particular, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, the country’s most influential church authority, has been criticised by activists and clerics alike for his deferential approach to Duterte. Such a stance, they argue, seems blind to the country’s suffering and risks degrading the moral integrity of the church. Meanwhile, Jun and a small crop of the church opposition have reoriented their lives around a mission to document the drug war while helping to seek accountability for those carrying it out.

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    In a country where vigilante executions have become commonplace, this work is perilous at best; Catholic leaders who speak out are often inundated with death threats, sometimes from Duterte himself. Since December, 2017, three Filipino priests have been killed in mysterious circumstances. One was ambushed in his car after negotiating the release of a political prisoner; another, while saying blessings on a group of children, was shot dead by a motorcyclist; a third was murdered at the altar in front of parishioners just before mass.

    When I asked Jun whether he was concerned for his own safety, he shook his head and drew a circle around his chair, as if tracing an invisible ring of fire.

    “It’s part of our job,” he said. “Why be afraid?”

    There are three basic ways to die in Duterte’s war on drugs. “Riding in tandem” has been the dominant mode in Manila: drive-by operations conducted on motorcycle, with balaclava-clad assassins – believed in some cases to be the PNP’s hired guns. Other executions take place through so-called “legitimate police operations” carried out by large taskforces, whether for a group or just a single target. Other victims simply disappear.

    The logic of the drug war is cold and transparent. Manila’s slums have become killing fields, and police impunity compounds the horrors of extrajudicial killings. Fishermen have reportedly dumped bodies into Manila Bay at the orders of PNP officers. Women have been extorted for sex in exchange for the safety of male family members. Bodies have turned up on curbs and corners after dark, their heads wrapped in packing tape to disguise evidence of torture, cardboard messages draped around their necks: “Pusher Ako” (“I’m a pusher”).

    Such theatrical touches are common in the drug war’s crime scenes, which often show signs of staging. The website Rappler, the Philippines’s opposition-news outlet, has noted how ziplock bags of shabu (the methamphetamine at the heart of the country’s drug crackdown) turn up in the pockets of victims so frequently and conveniently as to suggest they had been planted. Nearly as often, a handgun – typically a rusted .38 calibre – rests beside the body, or in the victim’s hand. In some cases, and ominously, ambulances have arrived at a target’s home ahead of the police, portending the violence to come.

    And yet for all the carnage, and as alarming as these tactics seem, Duterte remains broadly popular. Before October of last year, the president’s approval ratings had hovered around 80%; after a slump at the beginning of 2019, they rebounded by spring. And this May, the Philippines’ midterm elections gave an unmistakable vote of confidence to Duterte: allies of the president claimed each of the 12 senate seats up for grabs. Among the new senate members is Ronald dela Rosa, the PNP chief who presided over the drug war in its first two years. Such a sweeping victory should allow Duterte to consolidate power in the second half of his presidency, and many fear that it clears the path for him to push through several ambitious policy goals, namely the reinstitution of a legal death penalty and the rewriting of the constitution to prolong his own power.

  8. #108
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    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...atholic-church

    It may also lead to a resurgence in the drug killings. In June, the drug war claimed its youngest victim, a three-year-old girl named Myca Ulpina, who was killed in a sting targeting her father. “We are living in an imperfect world,” the new senator Dela Rosa said of the young girl’s death. “Shit happens during operations.”

    Caloocan bishop Pablo “Ambo” David, a rare dissenter among the Philippines’s bishop class, has expressed alarm that Duterte has already succeeded in corrupting “even a basic sense of good and bad” in the minds of so many Catholics “in making it so easy for people to accept that these people deserve to die because they’re drug suspects”.

    Recently, Ambo’s public dissent prompted a counter from Duterte: the president accused the bishop of stealing from the offering plate and dealing in drugs himself. Duterte threatened to personally “decapitate” Ambo, who was then deluged with death threats from other sources. Through such direct attacks, Duterte has chipped away at a veneration of the church half a millennium in the making. Priests themselves no longer know their standing in the culture. As Father Albert Alejo, a member of the Catholic resistance, put it to me, the crisis of the drug war transcends the death toll. “In the end, they are not just killing bodies,” he said, “they are killing our logic and they are killing our moral foundations.”

    When Duterte launched his presidential campaign in November 2015, he was a little-known mayor with a reputation for violence in the southern capital of Davao, where residents referred to him as the “death squad mayor”. Six months later, his was the most famous face in the country, due mainly to a campaign that promised fantastical reforms to a frustrated and alienated electorate. “He promised them the moon and the stars,” one Catholic activist told me, with pledges to clear Manila traffic – some of the worst in the world – in just 100 days, to weed out government and corporate corruption, and to scrub the country of crime and poverty through an unforgiving war on drugs.

    Along with these bold promises, Duterte built his campaign on violent and blasphemous rhetoric that gave voters in an overwhelmingly Catholic country every possible reason to abandon him. His public appearances were marked by vulgarities and open threats, and rather than court the country’s religious leaders to take political advantage of their traditional popularity, he instead waged a relentless crusade against the Catholic church, wielding its record of sexual abuse as moral leverage, going so far as to curse Pope Francis after his 2015 visit to Manila, complaining about the nightmarish traffic caused by the pope’s mass. “Putang ina,” Duterte sneered. “Son of a whore, go home. Do not visit us again.”

    These attacks should have landed discordantly with Filipino voters, for whom Catholicism is entwined with national identity. Here, Christian scripture is as inescapable as the sun and sea; prayer beads hang from countless rearview mirrors; neon crosses cap city skylines. In the crowded networks of Manila’s vendor stalls – between sneakers and mangos and glass-bottled colas – passersby can pick up all kinds of Catholic trinkets: glossy plastic piet? statues, Crayola-coloured votive candles, floral and beaded rosaries, medallions stamped with the faces of saints. In the capital’s alleyways, chapels materialise out of stone and sheet metal, nearly indistinguishable from the neighbouring shanties, where homemade shrines glow in the windows.

    Yet the same country that is adorned in the ornaments of faith also remains broadly supportive of a misogynistic and murderous demagogue. “We will be celebrating very soon 500 years of Christianity,” said Father Flavie Villanueva, an anti-drug-war activist, alluding to Spain’s arrival in the Philippines – and with it, Catholicism – in 1521. “But look at who voted for Duterte, and the people still supporting Duterte. There are still so many Catholics on that side.”

    As antagonistic as his rhetoric was during the campaign, Duterte’s hostility toward the church has only intensified during his presidency. As if testing the limits of his own blasphemy, Duterte has aimed each curse at a Catholic dogma more sacred than the last. Addressing Filipinos during a 2016 speech in Laos, he predicted a future in which the Catholic church would be irrelevant and beckoned his countrymen into an “iglesia ni Duterte” (a “church of Duterte”). On All Saints’ day last year, he mocked Catholic saints as hypocrites and loons, and proposed himself as a proper object of worship: “Santo Rodrigo”. Last October, he aimed even higher than the pope, calling God himself a “son of a whore” and asking: “Who is this stupid God?”

    Duterte’s ascent has resurrected a dilemma for the Philippines’s Catholic leadership that mirrors an identity crisis the church has faced throughout its history: what is its responsibility under an immoral regime? Cardinal Tagle rarely speaks publicly about the war on drugs, and when he does it is through broad condemnations of a “culture of death” – vague phrasing that encompasses abortion as well as the drug war. His position is further muddied by the fact that he has been photographed in genial meetings with Duterte, whom he has yet to condemn by name. “Good luck trying to find him,” one church activist said of Tagle. “He hates having reporters corner him with questions about the extrajudicial killings.” (Cardinal Tagle did not respond to multiple requests to be interviewed for this story.)

    This dance has frustrated secular human-rights organisations who look to the church to take the lead on any number of urgent issues. “They were very slow. They were silent,” Phelim Kine, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, said of the church’s response to Duterte’s drug war. Carlos Conde, the lone Human Rights Watch representative based in the Philippines, expressed similar frustrations. He believes that the church is “the only institution that is left standing that can confront Duterte … It is just a cop-out to say that the church is not political. Of course the church is political.”

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    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...atholic-church

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...atholic-church

    Recent history supports Conde’s argument. The Philippine priesthood backed the country’s successful revolutions of 1986 and 2001, and opposed a failed counterrevolution later that same year. The first and most famous of these was the People Power Revolution, which deposed the dictator Ferdinand Marcos and brought an end to more than a decade of martial law. The church was instrumental in orchestrating the revolt. The legacy of those revolutions hangs heavy over the modern-day Philippine church, a radically different organisation than it was then. “We don’t want anything to do with politics right now,” Villanueva told me, describing a church that has shied away from the expectations established by those past revolts.

    Undoubtedly, the Catholic leadership has played a more cautious hand with Duterte than some of its strident parish priests have. But, as Guadalupe Tu??n, an Academy Scholar at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs who specialises in the intersection of religion and politics, points out, these shadow games may only reveal part of the story. “Whatever they are saying on the record is potentially less important than what they are allowing in their dioceses,” says Tu??n. Tagle himself may be quiet, but any dissidence in his archdiocese comes by his tacit permission. It is noteworthy, then, that one of the country’s handful of vocal bishops is the cardinal’s direct subordinate, Broderick Pabillo, the auxiliary bishop of Manila.

    Pabillo defends the cardinal’s approach, arguing that “there are different ways how you can respond” to accomplish the same ends. Nonetheless, there is a dissonance between Tagle’s silent approach and Pabillo’s wider view of how the church should be tackling this issue. “I don’t think we have done enough,” Pabillo told me. “Among the clergy and among the lay people, only a few are speaking out.”

    When I asked him what would happen if the church led the kind of widespread protest that he was advocating, he said, without qualification: “It would stop the killings.”

    At Eusebio funeral services in northern Manila, Brother Jun sat with Orly Fernandez, the operations manager, in the open doorway of the building’s garage, waiting for news. Jun spends many of his nights at Eusebio, one of the PNP’s “accredited” funeral homes, whose business has boomed during the drug war. When there is a killing, the police call an accredited funeral home to retrieve the body. When Fernandez gets a call, he often tips off Jun, who speeds ahead of the hearse in order to photograph the scene before the body is removed.

    For nearly three years, Jun has dedicated his after-dark hours to this ritual, which is part of his work with the nightcrawlers, a group of Filipino journalists who cover the graveyard shift, waiting for calls about drug-war killings. At the height of the war, three to five killings a night were routine. On one night in the summer of 2017, as part of what the PNP called a “One Time, Big Time” operation, 32 people were killed in less than 24 hours. Jun sees documenting this violence – through photography and the collection of police reports – as crucial to the anti-drug-war effort. The work of the nightcrawlers has helped to draw international attention to the atrocities of the war on drugs, and they provide a support network for the families of victims. Still, Jun is unusually situated between photographer and missionary, and this allows him advantages over his peers in both worlds. For one thing, victims’ families are often more inclined to talk with a representative of the church than the media; and as an activist brother, rather than a priest, Jun has some agility within the church’s rigid structure.

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    It was a quiet night at Eusebio. Jun mentioned going to a province north of Manila where many of the killings were concentrated. “You don’t need to the provinces,” Fernandez told him. “There are enough killings here.” Fernandez estimated that, the week before, he had recovered 10 bodies in northern Manila. While the group loitered on the curb outside the garage, Fernandez retrieved three printouts from inside and laid them out on his bench. The word “missing” was printed in large letters across the top of each, with pictures of three faces below. This had become the norm: with declining media coverage and wilier evasions by the police, the dead tended to disappear.

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    Recent history supports Conde’s argument. The Philippine priesthood backed the country’s successful revolutions of 1986 and 2001, and opposed a failed counterrevolution later that same year. The first and most famous of these was the People Power Revolution, which deposed the dictator Ferdinand Marcos and brought an end to more than a decade of martial law. The church was instrumental in orchestrating the revolt. The legacy of those revolutions hangs heavy over the modern-day Philippine church, a radically different organisation than it was then. “We don’t want anything to do with politics right now,” Villanueva told me, describing a church that has shied away from the expectations established by those past revolts.

    Undoubtedly, the Catholic leadership has played a more cautious hand with Duterte than some of its strident parish priests have. But, as Guadalupe Tu??n, an Academy Scholar at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs who specialises in the intersection of religion and politics, points out, these shadow games may only reveal part of the story. “Whatever they are saying on the record is potentially less important than what they are allowing in their dioceses,” says Tu??n. Tagle himself may be quiet, but any dissidence in his archdiocese comes by his tacit permission. It is noteworthy, then, that one of the country’s handful of vocal bishops is the cardinal’s direct subordinate, Broderick Pabillo, the auxiliary bishop of Manila.

    Pabillo defends the cardinal’s approach, arguing that “there are different ways how you can respond” to accomplish the same ends. Nonetheless, there is a dissonance between Tagle’s silent approach and Pabillo’s wider view of how the church should be tackling this issue. “I don’t think we have done enough,” Pabillo told me. “Among the clergy and among the lay people, only a few are speaking out.”

    When I asked him what would happen if the church led the kind of widespread protest that he was advocating, he said, without qualification: “It would stop the killings.”

    At Eusebio funeral services in northern Manila, Brother Jun sat with Orly Fernandez, the operations manager, in the open doorway of the building’s garage, waiting for news. Jun spends many of his nights at Eusebio, one of the PNP’s “accredited” funeral homes, whose business has boomed during the drug war. When there is a killing, the police call an accredited funeral home to retrieve the body. When Fernandez gets a call, he often tips off Jun, who speeds ahead of the hearse in order to photograph the scene before the body is removed.

    For nearly three years, Jun has dedicated his after-dark hours to this ritual, which is part of his work with the nightcrawlers, a group of Filipino journalists who cover the graveyard shift, waiting for calls about drug-war killings. At the height of the war, three to five killings a night were routine. On one night in the summer of 2017, as part of what the PNP called a “One Time, Big Time” operation, 32 people were killed in less than 24 hours. Jun sees documenting this violence – through photography and the collection of police reports – as crucial to the anti-drug-war effort. The work of the nightcrawlers has helped to draw international attention to the atrocities of the war on drugs, and they provide a support network for the families of victims. Still, Jun is unusually situated between photographer and missionary, and this allows him advantages over his peers in both worlds. For one thing, victims’ families are often more inclined to talk with a representative of the church than the media; and as an activist brother, rather than a priest, Jun has some agility within the church’s rigid structure.

    Advertisement

    It was a quiet night at Eusebio. Jun mentioned going to a province north of Manila where many of the killings were concentrated. “You don’t need to the provinces,” Fernandez told him. “There are enough killings here.” Fernandez estimated that, the week before, he had recovered 10 bodies in northern Manila. While the group loitered on the curb outside the garage, Fernandez retrieved three printouts from inside and laid them out on his bench. The word “missing” was printed in large letters across the top of each, with pictures of three faces below. This had become the norm: with declining media coverage and wilier evasions by the police, the dead tended to disappear.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...atholic-church

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    https://cebudailynews.inquirer.net/2...ted-with-drugs

    CEBU CITY, Philippines — Police Brigadier Debold Sinas, the director of the Police Regional Office in Central Visayas (PRO-7), said that Talisay City had continued to be infested with illegal drugs even with the continuous anti-illegal drug operations in the city.

    Sinas said that even with the change of leadership in the Talisay Police, with the Police Major Orlando Carag Jr. taking over the city’s police force, they could not loosen their grip on the city because of the continuous scattered drug trade.

    “Giampingan na namo ang Talisay nga dili gyod mamalik. (We are cautious so none of the big time drug traders will return to Talisay City),” said Sinas.

    Drug users rampant

    Sinas said the main problem of Talisay City was that drug users were still rampant in the area, and even if the police would continue to go after the traders, they would find a way to come back because users were still willing to buy illegal drugs.

    Despite the wellness and rehabilitation programs conducted by the police, local government unit, and other agencies, he said there were still many drug users in the city.

    He said the anti-illegal drugs operations in the city might have weeded out the high-level and notorious pushers, but the recent drug traders that had been caught, and even died in buy-bust operations, were new names to the drug trade.

    The most recent deaths were the three individuals who died after resisting arrest in Barangay Biasong on Thursday afternoon, July 25, 2019.

    Talisay City Police identified those killed as drug suspects, Vernabe Suello, Aniceto Daug daug and Julie Daug daug.

    Sinas said that most of the drug suspects, who had been caught or killed in drug busts had been in and out of prison.

    He said they had been monitoring closely previously jailed drug traders because they would often build new links inside the jail.

    Vigilantes

    Yet, Sinas said he was also worried that the intensified anti-drug operations had been encouraging vigilante killings such as that of an alleged robber who was found dead hanging at the Mananga Bridge on July 22.

    Reynante Otero was found suspended from the Mananga Bridge with a rope tied around his neck, and his face covered with a cloth.

    “We do not tolerate it (vigilante killings) really. We will not be checking. We don’t encourage vigilantes. Kung vigilante ka, dakpon gihapon ka namo. (If you are a vigilante, we will still arrest you),” said Sinas.

    Also in early Thursday, July 25, a man was found dead in Sitio Ilang-Ilang, Barangay Lagtang, in Talisay City.
    Jimbo Gadiano, 33, who hails from Barangay Lawaan III, in Talisay City, was shot multiple times in the body and was left to die.

    Residents of the area said that gunshots had been heard around 4 a.m.

    Talisay Police are still investigating the cause and motive of the killing./dbs



    Read more: https://cebudailynews.inquirer.net/2...#ixzz5ujVLKCrk
    Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

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    https://www.rappler.com/move-ph/2360...r-as-president

    MANILA, Philippines – As the nation marked President Rodrigo Duterte’s third year in power, various groups, on Monday, July 22, called for an end to the many issues faced by the country under his administration.

    This came the same day that President Duterte delivered his 4th State of the Nation Address (SONA). (READ: IN PHOTOS: From Luzon to Mindanao, thousands cry 'Atin ang 'Pinas!')

    Bayan-Southern Mindanao Region (BSMR) council member and labor leader Carlo Olalo called to put an end to the Duterte regime.

    “We are determined today to express our call that we had enough of Duterte’s fascist rule. Despite the continuing attacks to our ranks, we remain steadfast. Our protest action today is a testament that the abuses and atrocities of the Duterte regime unfolds, that even in his home city protest action is happening,” Olalo said in a statement.

    In a press statement, the Promotion of Church People’s Response expressed its "commitment as a community of disciples, embracing our prophetic duty to rise for peace and justice and resist lies, treachery and killings."

    "Enough of the lies, traitorous seeout of national patrimony, widespread killings, and violations of people's rights," the group urged.

    Pro-China?

    The group also expressed its grief for the state of the nation because of the government's response toward the sinking of a boat with 22 fishermen onboard by a Chinese vessel – arguably the biggest issue faced by the Duterte administration by far.

    “We are outraged by the government’s feebleness and impotence in protecting and defending our seas and our people, as manifested in its kowtow (bending knees) to China, when this imperialist power bullied our poor fisherfolk in our own territory,” the group said.

    For them, such response stressed and spoke volumes “on the Duterte government’s treachery against our national patrimony and sovereignty.”

    Other Stories

    President Rodrigo Duterte’s 2019 State of the Nation Address
    NEWS, FEATURES, ANALYSES, IN-DEPTH REPORTS, VIDEOS

    [OPINION] The ‘cinemafication’ of Duterte’s State of the Nation Address
    These attempts at ‘picture perfection’ replaces the President’s address. Our country’s woes cannot be cured by a manicured picture, image, and video with fancy camera works.

    FULL TEXT: President Duterte’s 2019 State of the Nation Address
    The first thing the President asks Congress in his speech is to restore the death penalty for heinous crimes related to illegal drugs and plunder

    Olalo also expressed the group's outrage over the administration’s pro-China policies. (READ: Duterte asserts PH sovereignty to others, except China – analyst)

    "Duterte betrayed us, he promised us for an independent foreign policy but what he did in the past 3 years is a total sell-out of our country’s patrimony and sovereignty to China," Olalo stressed in a statement.

    Duterte is yet to assert the Philippines’ victory over China’s claim to the West Philippine Sea. (READ: Duterte Promise Checklist: Major accomplishments, failures)

    Drug war

    Meanwhile, human rights advocates led by the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) and In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDefend) condemned the widespread human rights violations under President Duterte’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.

    PAHRA Secretary-General Rose Trajano described that the state of the nation as “slow, painful death for the Filipino people who are suffering chronic poverty and widespread violence and impunity.”

    Trajano also insisted that Duterte must be made accountable for these violations.


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    Promotion of Church People’s Response echoed this as the incessant lies, treachery and killings perpetuated by the Duterte administration puts our national integrity and dignity in peril and called to stop this impunity.

    “Those who have lost their loved ones continue to suffer the burden of financial debt, emotional trauma, and the terror brought about by this war on the poor in urban communities,” the group said in a statement.

    At least 5,000 suspected drug personalities killed in police operations of Duterte’s violent war on drugs. Human rights groups meanwhile pegged more than 20,000 including those killed vigilante-style. (READ: The Impunity Series)

    In a joint statement, Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity (LODI), Altermidya, Concerned Artists of the Philippines and National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) emphasized how the victims of the rampant human rights violations have become mere statistics. (READ: PH drug war killings reach 'threshold of crimes against humanity' – report)

    Freedom of Expression in peril

    Groups also stressed how the freedom of expression has been affected in the time of his presidency. (READ: IN PHOTOS: Groups hit Duterte admin’s performance ahead of SONA 2019)

    “Merely voicing out concern and reporting on the aggravating human rights situation in the country puts one at risk. The attacks were sustained and targeted all fronts: from the red-tagging of activists and organizations, to the harassment and even killing of journalists,” the joint statement from media groups read.

    The Freedom for Media, Freedom for All Network has monitored at least 128 attacks and threats against members of the press since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office. (READ: Over 100 attacks vs journalists since Duterte assumed office – monitor)

    “In a nutshell, the last 3 years drastically shrunk the space for free expression,” media groups continued, showing how the administration wields its entire machinery to hide the truth in its bloody “war on drugs." – Rappler.com

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    https://www.foreignaffairs.com/artic...ante-president

    In his final year in law school at a Catholic men’s college in Manila, Rodrigo Duterte shot a classmate who made fun of his thick accent. The young “Rody,” as Duterte was then known, was the son of a provincial governor on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. Like many of the progeny of the Philippine political elite, he had enjoyed a privileged upbringing. He grew up surrounded by guns and bodyguards, flew his father’s plane when he was in his hometown, and hung out with the sons of local notables in his Jesuit-run boys’ school. In Manila, however, Duterte’s accent, typical of those from the country’s southern periphery, marked him as an unsophisticated provinciano. Hence the classmate’s teasing.

    “I waited for him,” Duterte would recall nearly 45 years later, when he was running for president and speaking before an enthusiastic crowd. “I told myself, ‘I’ll teach him a lesson.’” The classmate survived the shooting, he recounted, and presumably learned the lesson. And although he was banned from attending graduation, Duterte got his law degree. “The truth is, I am used to shooting people,” he said. The audience lapped it up.

    It was a typical Duterte story, with Duterte cast not as the aggressor but as the aggrieved, resorting to a gun to defend his honor. Sure, he took the law in his own hands, but by doing so, he earned the grudging respect of his tormentor. The telling, too, was classic Duterte: boastful while also self-deprecating. It was crass, hyperbolic, transgressive. And its conclusion—“I am used to shooting people”—could be construed as a joke, a fact, or a threat. Its power, and its beauty, lay in its ambiguity.

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