Crime & Justice

Duterte takes ‘responsibility’ for deadly war on drugs

Bangkok, Oct 22 (EFE).- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he assumes “full responsibility” for the deadly anti-drug campaign that began when he came to power and has left thousands of deaths in police raids and other incidents.

“If there is someone who should go to prison, it should be me. But it should be a Philippine court that judges me,” said the controversial president Thursday night during a speech with a defiant tone towards the International Criminal Court, which gave the green light to an investigation for crimes against humanity in this campaign promoted by Duterte.

The statements of the Philippine president, who ends his term in mid-2022, come after the Department of Justice of his country questioned this week the official version in the death of 52 alleged traffickers killed by the Police during the war on drugs.

The 20-page Justice Department report, the first to be published since the investigation was announced in February 2020, says medical analyses of many of the 52 cases investigated would deny the official version that the suspects drew their pistols before being killed by police.

Some of them had multiple gunshot wounds and in many cases autopsies, ballistic tests or paraffin tests were not carried out, which would show that the executed person had wielded a firearm before his death, local media reported Wednesday.

In these 52 investigated cases, 152 police officers were involved, who have received administrative sanctions such as temporary suspensions, demotions and dismissals for their errors, while the National Investigation Office is collecting information for possible criminal investigations.

According to data from the Duterte government, at least 6,181 people related to drugs were executed during police operations between Jul. 1, 2016 and Jul. 31, 2021, but human rights groups believe that the number is between 27,000 and 30,000 dead.

“I repeat what I have said before: if you destroy my country and the youth by selling drugs, you destroy the future. If you destroy this country, I will kill you,” Duterte said Thursday night in his speech by repeating one of his most popular phrases during his mandate. EFE


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