Philippines’ war against drugs continues despite UN concerns

President Rodrigo Duterte continues his war against drug trade in his attempt to keep his promise of curbing crime within three to six months.

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attends the 115th Police Service Anniversary at the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in Manila on August 17, 2016.

Known as the “punisher”, Philippines’ 16th president Rodrigo Duterte continues to raise eyebrows through his tactics after winning the elections in May.

During his presidential campaign he promised a war against crime, especially drug trafficking, where he urged citizens to kill drug addicts.

But his drive against drug lords has raised human rights concerns as the UN and western countries have criticized his way of handling the issue.

Here is a timeline of what Duterte has been doing and saying before and after he took office.

May 9: Duterte wins the presidential election and vows to kill thousands of criminals and dump their bodies in Manila Bay.

June 30: He takes office as the 16th Philippines president, announcing that he will bring back the death penalty, and orders officers to act upon a shoot-to-kill policy.

"If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful," he suggested.

In this photo taken on July 19, 2016, shows residents behind a police line looking at the two dead bodies of an alleged drug dealer after a drug bust operation that turned into a gun fight in Manila. (AFP)

July 1: The Philipine president urged communist rebels to take matters into their own hands saying, "Drugs have reached the hinterlands... what if you use your kangaroo courts to kill them to speed up the solution to our problem."

July 5: Duterte starts investigation against five top police officials.

July 14: Duterte’s office released a statement declaring the anti-drug campaign a “success”, announcing that nearly 200 people were killed within a month.

July 16: "I will execute you.... I will finish you off," the president said during a meeting with a businessman he accused of being a top drug dealer in the country.

July 18: The former lawyer clearly stated that human rights do not concern him. "I am not afraid of human rights (concerns). I will not allow my country to go to the dogs."

Human rights advocates along with church groups offer prayers and light candles as they call for justice for the numerous extrajudicial killings, which have increased since President Rodrigo Duterte, took office. (Reuters)

July 24: Duterte signed a freedom of information order through which the public can have access to government records.

July 25: He vows there will be “no  mercy” during his plan to wipe out crime.

August 4: Michael Siaron, who was suspected of having ties to drug dealing, was shot and left bleeding on the street while his wife held his corpse. Next to him a note read "drug pusher".

Jennelyn Olaires, 26, cradles the body of her husband, who was killed on a street by a vigilante group. (Reuters)

August 6: Duterte vows to maintain the “shoot-to-kill” order. So far about 800 people have been killed since he took office in June.

August 7: The Philippine president named over 160 officials involved in the drug business and warned them to surrender.

August 8: In a statement he calls the US ambassador to the country Philip Goldberg  "gay".

"As you know, I'm fighting with (US Secretary of State John Kerry's) ambassador. His gay ambassador, the son of a w****. He pissed me off," Duterte said.

August 21: The government threatens to leave the United Nations as the world body has criticised his way of war against crime.

“Maybe we’ll just have to decide to separate from the United Nations. If you are that disrespectful, son of a w****, then I will just leave you."

The Philippines Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, however, said that Duterte’s statement was due to “disappointment and frustration".

TRTWorld and agencies