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            [post_content] => Manila. A jailed critic of Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday (22/04) praised police who alleged in a Reuters report that officers received cash for executing drug suspects, and said an international criminal case should be filed against the president for crimes against humanity.

Senator Leila de Lima described as "brave and honorable men" the two senior police officers, one still in service and the other already retired, who made the allegations about the conduct of officers during Duterte's bloody war on drugs.

De Lima said the two officers, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, had given "testimonial proof that the extrajudicial killings are indeed state-sponsored and carried out upon direct orders of the president."

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Friday challenged the two officers to come out and face him, according to GMA News online.

Close to 9,000 people have died since Duterte took office and promised an unrelenting campaign to rid the Philippines of illegal narcotics. About a third were killed in anti-drug operations in which officers said the victims had violently resisted arrest.

Many other deaths were blamed on mysterious vigilantes who killed dealers and users, or homicides that could be unrelated to drugs. Police deny any involvement in those killings, most of which they say remain under investigation.

The two policemen who spoke to Reuters said PNP officers carried out most of the killings attributed to vigilantes.

"It is just a matter of time before all of the truth comes out in all its horrifying detail, of how a president took hold of a nation's consciousness to promote social cleansing as a final solution to the nation's problems," De Lima said.

De Lima last year led a Senate probe into alleged summary killings during Duterte's anti-drugs campaign but has since been detained on charges of involvement in the drugs trade in prisons when she was justice minister in the previous administration. She says the charges are trumped up.

De Lima said there should be no doubt there was sufficient cause to file an international criminal case for crimes against humanity against Duterte, Dela Rosa and other police commanders and high ranking cabinet members and lawmakers.

One of the two policemen, a retired intelligence officer, authored an unpublished 26-page report that provides granular detail on the alleged methods deployed in the drug war, as well as the campaign's masterminds and perpetrators. The report, which said it is based on the accounts of 17 serving and former officers, does not contain any documentary evidence.

The president's office has said there was "no such report," and that police were "not in the business of hiring assassins."

It also called on the two officers to make their complaints publicly and under oath. 

A Reuters spokesperson said: "Our reporting was fair and accurate and we stand by it."

PNP chief dela Rosa was quoted saying the two officers were "cowards".

"If they have balls to face the media and make accusations like that, they should also have balls to face their commanders," GMA quoted him telling reporters. 

Reuters
            [post_title] => Top Critic of Philippine Leader Lauds Policemen Over Cash-for-Kills Claim
            [post_excerpt] => A jailed critic of Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday (22/04) praised police who alleged in a Reuters report that officers received cash for executing drug suspects, and said an international criminal case should be filed against the president for crimes against humanity.
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            [post_content] => Washington. The United States said on Thursday (20/04) it was troubled by the growing number of extrajudicial killings in Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs and called on Manila to stick to its commitment to investigate them.

Close to 9,000 people, mostly drug users and small-time dealers, have been killed since Duterte took office almost 10 months ago and promised an unrelenting campaign to rid the Philippines of illicit narcotics.

Police say about a third of the victims were shot by officers in self-defense. Human rights groups believe many of the remaining two-thirds were killed by paid assassins cooperating with the police or by the police themselves, disguised as vigilantes. The government and police reject that.

Patrick Murphy, the US deputy assistant secretary of state for Southeast Asia, said the United States shared Manila's objective of eliminating the scourge of illicit drugs and wanted to help.

"We, however, do have a very sustained and deep concern when elements of the drug war are operating outside the rule of law," Murphy told reporters. "The growing number of extrajudicial killings is troubling."

Rights advocates were concerned when US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sidestepped questions about extrajudicial killings in the Philippines during his January confirmation hearing, raising the possibility that President Donald Trump might take a softer line on the issue than his predecessor, President Barack Obama.

Murphy said there was a distinction between being a nominee and the secretary of state and Tillerson was now the leader of the policy of expressing concern about the way the drug war was being waged.

"We are urging the Philippines to follow up on its commitment to investigate extrajudicial killings whether they are committed by law enforcement, or of a vigilante nature," he said.

Earlier on Thursday, Duterte's office rejected allegations by two senior police officers in a Reuters report that police received cash rewards for executing drug suspects, while the most high-profile critic of the president backed the officers' claims.

Duterte was infuriated by US expressions of concern about extrajudicial killings after he took office last year and threatened to sever the long-standing US defense alliance.

Duterte spoke positively about Trump, a fellow populist, after the US presidential election in November, although his anti-US rhetoric continued.

Reuters
            [post_title] => US Troubled by Increasing Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines
            [post_excerpt] => The United States said on Thursday (20/04) it was troubled by the growing number of extrajudicial killings in Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs and called on Manila to stick to its commitment to investigate them.
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            [post_content] => Manila. The Philippine environment minister said she has been given the green light by President Rodrigo Duterte to work with communist rebel fighters to help rehabilitate and develop the country's mining areas.

The decades-long conflict between the New People's Army (NPA) rebels and the Philippine government has killed more than 40,000 people. Earlier this month the NPA agreed to a temporary truce with government, the first joint ceasefire since November 1986.

Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Regina Lopez last month ordered the closure of more than half the nation's mines to protect water resources, a bold step backed by Duterte, who has said the Philippines can survive without mining.

Lopez, an environmentalist-turned-regulator, said her unorthodox plan to work with the rebels has his backing.

"What I've seen with the NPA, they just really want to get people out of poverty, they're really not bad people," Lopez told reporters on Thursday (20/04). "We might have a situation where miners work with the NPA. We must come from the same page."

Jose Maria Sison, the founder and leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines who lives in exile in Utrecht, welcomed Lopez' desire "to work with the NPA for peace and development".

"It is directly related to the environment, agrarian reform and rural development now being negotiated under the substantive item," he said in a Facebook post, inviting her to attend the next round of peace talks, brokered by Norway, in the Netherlands next month.

Lopez said she's initially looking at working with NPA rebels to develop a mining province in southern Mindanao island, and had asked Duterte's permission at a recent cabinet meeting and "he gave a go-ahead."

Duterte's spokesman, Ernesto Abella, said however "that needs to be verified" when asked to confirm the plan.

Miners were unsure whether Lopez's strategy would work.

Mining contracts "are granted by the government, not by the NPAs. So, in what capacity could we work with the NPAs? I don't know," Dante Bravo, president of Global Ferronickel Holdings Inc , told Reuters. Global Ferronickel is the Philippines' No. 2 nickel ore producer.

The Philippine Army did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lopez waged a crackdown on the Philippine mining sector shortly after taking office in June last year. In February, she ordered the closure of 22 of the Southeast Asian nation's 41 mines and later cancelled dozens of contracts for undeveloped mines.

Duterte backed Lopez's mining crackdown, himself angered by years of environmental harm he said miners have caused. Late on Wednesday, he reiterated his support for Lopez, who has said she wants the country to be "mine-free".

"I asked how can we do that? We have to amend the law. There's a mining law which allows mining," Duterte said.

"But I agree with Gina," Duterte said, calling the minister by her nickname.

Duterte reappointed Lopez this week after lawmakers deferred a decision to confirm or reject her appointment before Congress went into recess from March 18. Hearings on her confirmation resume on May 2.

Reuters
            [post_title] => Philippine Minister Wants to Work With Maoist Rebels in Mine Areas
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            [post_content] => Manila. A Philippine senator called for a probe on Wednesday (19/04) into allegations by senior officers in a Reuters report that police received cash rewards for executing drug suspects, while a police spokesman challenged the claims but said they would be investigated.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said in a statement that the Philippine National Police (PNP) should take "drastic measures" to verify the allegations made by two senior police officers, and punish those who have "broken their vow to protect the Filipino people."

In a Reuters report published on Tuesday, the two officers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said PNP officers received cash for killing suspects in President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war, planted evidence at crime scenes and carried out most of the killings they have long blamed on vigilantes.

One of the men, a retired intelligence officer, authored an unpublished 26-page report that provides granular detail on the alleged methods deployed in the drug war, as well as the campaign's masterminds and perpetrators. The report, which said it is based on the accounts of 17 serving and former officers, does not contain any documentary evidence.

Gatchalian said the "integrity" of the police was "at stake," and called on PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa to "unmask the truth."

"The PNP leadership should look into these serious allegations made by two officers from within their ranks. While the charges lack documentary evidence, these cannot simply be swept under the rug with a blanket denial," he said.

PNP spokesman Dionardo Carlos said he encouraged the two police officers interviewed by Reuters to come forward and publicly air their allegations. "There's no problem if they will tell the truth, backed up by evidence," he said.

Carlos said claims that cash rewards were being paid for killing drug suspects were implausible, because police would not have that kind of money at their disposal and such acts would be unlawful.

"First of all, that's illegal, prohibited. Second, we are short on funds and nothing was allocated," he told reporters.

Vigilante killings

Close to 9,000 people, mostly drug users and small-time dealers, have been killed since Duterte took office almost 10 months ago and promised an unrelenting campaign to rid the Philippines of illicit narcotics.

Police say about a third of the victims were shot by officers in self-defense during anti-drug operations. Human rights groups believe many of the remaining two thirds were killed by paid assassins cooperating with the police or by police themselves, disguised as vigilantes. Police reject that.

The two officers said that most of the drug-war killings are orchestrated by the police, including those they say are carried out by vigilantes. Reuters was unable to independently verify if the police are behind vigilante killings. One of the officers, an active-duty police commander, also said that officers plant drugs and guns at the scene of deadly narcotics busts.

Gatchalian said the officers who spoke to Reuters should present concrete evidence to support their claims. "Accusations of this kind should have solid backing," he said.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, a former national police chief, said in a text message to GMA news, one of the leading media organizations in the Philippines, that unless Reuters identified the two police officers and they could provide "convincing proof of their allegations," he would dismiss the report as "gossip."

Reuters
            [post_title] => Philippine Senator Calls for Probe Into Police Cash-for-Kill Claim
            [post_excerpt] => A Philippine senator called for a probe on Wednesday (19/04) into allegations by senior officers in a Reuters report that police received cash rewards for executing drug suspects, while a police spokesman challenged the claims but said they would be investigated.
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            [post_content] => Manila. The Philippines has ordered an inquiry into reports that "foreign vessels" near China's man-made islands harassed Filipino fishermen in the disputed South China Sea, the military chief said on Thursday (20/04).

In an interview with reporters, General Eduardo Ano said the armed forces had received sketchy reports of a group of Filipinos being driven away from Union Bank in the Spratlys, near Gaven Reef, on which China has built an island.

A Philippines television channel had earlier reported the fishermen had been fired upon, but the military, in a statement, described the events as "alleged harassment."

China claims sovereignty over almost the entire South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion worth of goods passes annually. Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims, and occupy some islets and reefs in the Spratly archipelago.

Philippine authorities are trying to locate the fishermen, believed to have returned to land, who have been encouraged to report to police or coastguard officials.

China's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether it was aware of the incident or if the foreign ships in question were Chinese.

Reports of altercations between the Philippines and China have been rare since President Rodrigo Duterte took office last year and sought to patch up differences between the two countries and encourage business ties. He frequently heaps praise on China President Xi Jinping.

Duterte has refrained from criticizing China's activities in the South China Sea and tends to blame the United States for letting the problem escalate, by failing to stop Beijing from building and arming its artificial islands.

In what appeared to be an olive branch to the Philippines, China's coastguard in October started allowing Filipino fishermen to return and fish at the strategic Scarborough Shoal, which Beijing seized in June 2012. Chinese in the past have fired water cannon at vessels of other countries in the area.

Reuters journalists visited the coral atoll this month and saw a substantially larger Chinese coastguard and fishing presence than usual, although it was allowing Filipinos to fish inside the shoal for the first time since the blockade.

Reuters
            [post_title] => Philippines Checks Report of 'Harassment' Near China-Controlled Reef
            [post_excerpt] => The Philippines has ordered an inquiry into reports that "foreign vessels" near China's man-made islands harassed Filipino fishermen in the disputed South China Sea, the military chief said on Thursday (20/04).
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            [post_content] => Manila. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's office rejected allegations on Thursday (20/04) by two senior police officers in a Reuters report that police received cash rewards for executing drug suspects, while the most high-profile critic of the president backed the officers' claims.

"There is no truth in the allegation that there is a coordinated effort to kill drug suspects," the president's office said Thursday in a written reply to questions from Reuters.

"The so-called officers interviewed must be living movie scenes."

Leila de Lima, who was arrested in February on drug charges after leading a Senate probe into Duterte's drug war, said that the allegations by the two officers had revealed "the ugly and disturbing truth of what has become" of the Philippines police.

De Lima, who says she is the target of a vendetta, made the comments in a handwritten note from detention inside national police headquarters.

In a Reuters report published on Tuesday, the two officers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Philippine National Police (PNP) officers carried out most of the killings they have long blamed on vigilantes.

One of the men, a retired intelligence officer, authored an unpublished 26-page report that provides granular detail on the alleged methods deployed in the drug war, as well as the campaign's masterminds and perpetrators. The report, which said it is based on the accounts of 17 serving and former officers, does not contain any documentary evidence.

The president's office, which said there was "no such report," added that the police were "not in the business of hiring assassins." It also called on the two officers to make their complaints publicly and under oath.

On Wednesday, a Philippine senator called for a probe into the allegations, while a police spokesman challenged the claims but said they would be investigated.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said in a statement that the PNP should take "drastic measures" to verify the allegations made by the two police officers, and punish those who have "broken their vow to protect the Filipino people."

Gatchalian said the integrity of the police was "at stake," and called on PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa to "unmask the truth."

Planting Evidence

PNP spokesman Dionardo Carlos said he encouraged the two police officers interviewed by Reuters to come forward and publicly air their allegations. He said claims that cash rewards were being paid for killing drug suspects were implausible, because police would not have that kind of money at their disposal and such acts would be unlawful.

Close to 9,000 people, mostly drug users and small-time dealers, have been killed since Duterte took office almost 10 months ago and promised an unrelenting campaign to rid the Philippines of illicit narcotics.

Police say about a third of the victims were shot by officers in self-defense during anti-drug operations. Human rights groups believe many of the remaining two thirds were killed by paid assassins cooperating with the police or by police themselves, disguised as vigilantes. The government and police reject that.

The two officers said that most of the drug-war killings are orchestrated by the police, including those they say are carried out by vigilantes. Reuters was unable to independently verify if the police are behind vigilante killings.

One of the officers, an active-duty police commander, also said that officers plant drugs and guns at the scene of deadly narcotics busts.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, a former national police chief, said Wednesday in a text message to GMA news, one of the leading media organizations in the Philippines, that unless Reuters identified the two police officers and they could provide "convincing proof of their allegations," he would dismiss the report as "gossip."

The report also asserts that Duterte, who released Communist rebels from prison to restart peace talks, has close ties to leftist forces. In response, the president's office said that the Communist insurgency in the country was "rooted in poverty, inequality and economic exclusion," and that Duterte "is open to dialogue with groups of different political persuasions and ideologies, including the Left."

Reuters
            [post_title] => Duterte's Office Rejects Drug-War Allegations as 'Movie Scenes'
            [post_excerpt] => Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's office rejected allegations on Thursday (20/04) by two senior police officers in a Reuters report that police received cash rewards for executing drug suspects, while the most high-profile critic of the president backed the officers' claims.
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            [post_content] => Manila. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned on Wednesday (19/04) he might "invade" an island stronghold of the Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf to "finish the game" following a thwarted attempt by the group to kidnap tourists on a resort island last week.

Duterte offered cash rewards for the capture, dead or alive, of six Abu Sayyaf militants still at large following a day-long clash last week on Bohol island, which killed six rebels and four members of the security forces.

The shootout on Bohol followed warnings against travel to central Philippine islands by several Western countries, which cited unconfirmed intelligence of possible kidnap plans. The clash erupted after residents tipped-off authorities about the arrival of armed men on boats.

The incident was highly significant, coming during Holy Week at a location far from Abu Sayyaf's traditional field of operations on remote Jolo, Tawi Tawi and Basilan islands.

Duterte said Abu Sayyaf must not be allowed to extend its reach.

"I will, maybe, invade Jolo," Duterte told reporters after a security briefing in Tagbilaran City, Bohol.

"All army, navy, will go there. It will be a fight. That's what they want, I will give it."

Referring to Abu Sayyaf's strongholds, he said: "They must stay there, My order to the navy ... is to blow them up, no surrender. Shoot cannons, destroy them."

Abu Sayyaf has its roots in separatism and the military says some elements are in close contact with Islamic State radicals in the Middle East. However, most of its activities are banditry, like piracy and kidnap. It is notorious for beheading hostages when money for their release is not paid.

Duterte said he wanted civilians to support the manhunt on Bohol and offered a reward of 6 million pesos ($120,668) for each of the six fugitives.

He warned Abu Sayyaf might try to "create a disaster" at an meeting of trade officials of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean).

Duterte said he wanted to arm civilians, and encouraged them to kill not only Abu Sayyaf, but drug addicts who were armed.

Duterte's signature policy is a war on drugs, which has killed nearly 9,000 people in 10 months, mostly users and small-time peddlers.

"My order is dead or alive ... My enemy is drugs and terrorists. These drug addicts, they have firearms. Almost all of them are really paranoid. They fight." 

Reuters
            [post_title] => Philippine Leader May Launch 'Invasion' of Abu Sayyaf's Island Lair
            [post_excerpt] => Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned on Wednesday (19/04) he might "invade" an island stronghold of the Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf to "finish the game" following a thwarted attempt by the group to kidnap tourists on a resort island last week.
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            [post_content] => Manila. The Philippine police have received cash payments for executing drug suspects, planted evidence at crime scenes and carried out most of the killings they have long blamed on vigilantes, said two senior officers who are critical of President Rodrigo Duterte's "war on drugs."

In the most detailed insider accounts yet of the drug war's secret mechanics, the two senior officials challenged the government's explanations of the killings in interviews with Reuters.

Almost 9,000 people, many small-time users and dealers, have been killed since Duterte took office on June 30. Police say about a third of the victims were shot by officers in self-defense during legitimate anti-drug operations. Human rights monitors believe many of the remaining two thirds were killed by paid assassins operating with police backing or by police disguised as vigilantes – a charge the police deny.

The two senior officers, one a retired police intelligence officer and the other an active-duty commander, claimed the killings are in fact orchestrated by the police, including most of those carried out by vigilantes. They spoke with Reuters on the condition of anonymity.

"It is the Philippine National Police doing it," said the retired intelligence officer. "This killing machine must be buried six feet under the ground." He said he was angry about the impact of the killings on police discipline and wanted "to put Duterte on the defensive." Reuters was unable to independently verify if the police are behind vigilante killings.

The president's office and the Philippine police did not respond to questions from Reuters.

'Only the Poor Are Dying'

The intelligence officer has authored an unpublished 26-page report on the conduct of the drug war in an effort to organize opposition to Duterte's campaign. The report, titled "The State-Sponsored Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines," provides granular detail on the campaign's alleged methods, masterminds and perpetrators. The document has been shared with leaders of the Catholic Church in the Philippines and with the government-funded Commission on Human Rights.

Some of the report's accusations against individuals could not be confirmed by Reuters; the news agency is therefore not publishing the full document. Many of its findings, however, support and expand upon previous investigations of the drug war by Reuters and independent human rights monitors.

The report claims that police are paid to kill not just drug suspects, but also – for 10,000 pesos ($200) a head – rapists, pickpockets, swindlers, gang members, alcoholics and other "troublemakers."

It also claims that civilian members of the so-called Davao Death Squad, which rights activists allege killed hundreds of people in Duterte's hometown of Davao, were drafted to "augment and assist" the police's current nationwide anti-drug operation.

The report doesn't provide documentary evidence for its accusations, which the intelligence officer said were based on accounts from 17 serving or former policemen, including the commander Reuters interviewed. The police commander said he agreed to talk because he was upset that authorities are targeting only petty drug suspects.

"Why aren't they killing the suppliers?" he asked. "Only the poor are dying."

The second half of the report is largely political in nature, asserting that Duterte has close ties to Communist forces in the Philippines. Many in the military and police are concerned by what they see as Duterte's leftist sympathies. Since taking office, the president has released communist rebels from prison to restart peace talks.

The report also calls the drug war a "social cleansing" campaign similar to that launched in Mao Zedong's China, with Duterte aiming to have drug addicts "physically eliminated."

New Leads

The Commission on Human Rights has reviewed the report and the accounts could open up new leads in ongoing investigations, said chairman Chito Gascon. Church officials confirmed receiving the report as well.

"We should do all we can to follow any lead that could ultimately shed light on these killings with the view to ultimately holding the perpetrators to account," Gascon said.

The fresh claims come amid growing criticism of the drug war. In February, the country's influential Catholic Church called it a "reign of terror." The campaign has also sparked street protests and lawsuits.

Duterte's police chief, Ronald Dela Rosa, halted police operations for most of February after it emerged that an anti-drug unit had kidnapped and murdered a South Korean businessman last year. The killings continued but at a slower pace. On March 6, Dela Rosa announced that the police were resuming their drug operations.

In March, a former policeman, Arturo Lascanas, testified in the Philippine Senate about his role in vigilante-style killings in the southern city of Davao, where Duterte was once mayor. Lascanas was the second Senate witness to link Duterte to the Davao Death Squad. Duterte denies ordering any killings, either as president or mayor.

In a subsequent interview, Lascanas told Reuters that for over a decade he was paid for carrying out the liquidation of drug suspects and criminals. In the early 1990s, he said, he was paid 3,000 to 5,000 pesos for each of the "jobs" he performed. By the early 2000s he was earning tens of thousands of pesos for each operation, he said. Lascanas said he had no documentary proof of the payments. He has since left the country.

Unplugging Cameras

In the past nine months, police acknowledge having shot dead more than 2,600 suspects during their operations. They say such shootings occur after suspects open fire on undercover officers trying to catch them dealing drugs.

But these so-called "buy-busts" are actually well-planned executions, said the commander interviewed by Reuters. The commander said targets are chosen from lists of suspects drawn up by police and local officials, who later coordinate to unplug security cameras in the neighborhood where a killing is planned. According to the report, street lamps are also switched off.

"There is no such thing as a legitimate buy-bust," the commander said. "The dealers know the cops and won't sell to them."

Instead, he said, a team of police operatives will execute the target, who is almost always unarmed, then plant guns and drugs at the crime scene to justify the use of deadly force.

"We have to plant evidence for the legality of the operation," the commander said. "We are ordered to do these operations, so we have to protect ourselves."

The commander said officers put the gun in the dead suspect's hand and pull the trigger with the victim's finger so forensic testing will show that the suspect fired a gun.

Late last year, he said, police crime-scene investigators told their fellow officers to place the guns at a slight distance from the suspects, rather than in their hands, to make things look more realistic.

Most drug suspects in his precinct are shot by rookie cops who are either eager for the experience or nominated by their superiors, the commander said. The superiors refer to this as a "baptism by fire."

Each member of the team is quickly paid according to two factors, said the commander: his role in the killing and the target's value.

Cash Rewards

According to the report, the cash "reward scales" for drug killings range from 20,000 pesos for a "street level pusher and user," to 50,000 pesos for a member of a neighborhood council, one million pesos for "distributors, retailers and wholesalers," and five million for "drug lords."

Police officers kill for money, said the commander, but also out of fear: Even the police are afraid of being included on a "watch list" of drug suspects drawn up by police and local officials.

Officials have been killed for not cooperating, he added. He said he was aware of two cases but did not provide details on exactly what happened.

Reuters reported last year that the watch lists were effectively hit lists, with many of those named ending up dead. Another Reuters investigation showed that police officers were killing 97 percent of the suspects they confront in violent buy-bust operations, the strongest evidence yet that the police were summarily executing suspects.

Officers also cooperate because they know the police force's flawed disciplinary system, which fails to adequately investigate even a fraction of the killings, means there is little chance they will get caught, said the intelligence officer.

One sign of the drug war's success, says the government, is that more than a million users and pushers have voluntarily registered with the police, a process known as "surrendering."

But the commander said police are given a quota of "surrenderers," and fill it by using city ordinances to arrest men who are drunk or shirtless – a misdemeanor known as "half-naked" – then forcing them to register as drug suspects.

Reuters learned of the intelligence officer's 26-page report from him and interviewed two Catholic priests in Manila who said they had encouraged him to compile it. One of the priests said he edited the report; the other said he helped distribute it among a small group of clerics and human rights activists. Both are helping organize opposition to Duterte's drug campaign.

The Church's initial reluctance to criticize Duterte's drug war was prompted by a desire to "give him a chance" when he took office, said one of the priests. But the killings, along with the president's overtures to communists, made many in the Church feel their values were under attack, he said.

The intelligence officer said he hoped the report would be used as evidence at the International Criminal Court. In October, the Hague-based tribunal said it could prosecute suspects if the killings were "committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population."

Reuters
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            [post_excerpt] => The Philippine police have received cash payments for executing drug suspects, planted evidence at crime scenes and carried out most of the killings they have long blamed on vigilantes, said two senior officers who are critical of President Rodrigo Duterte's "war on drugs."
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, or UNODC, announced on Monday (17/04) that it will soon post a dedicated drug policy adviser to work with the Philippine government to enact alternative approaches in combating rising narcotics use in the country.

In an exclusive interview with the Jakarta Globe, Jeremy Douglas, the regional representative of UNODC for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said the adviser will begin working with the Philippine administration in June and serve there for two years.

"His role will be to work alongside the Dangerous Drugs Board, Department of Health and the Drug Enforcement Agency [PDEA] of the Philippines and advise those agencies to implement policy and program options around organized crime, health and drug prevention issues," Douglas said.

UNODC will work closely with the World Health Organization (WHO), which has regional headquarters in the Philippines. Both organizations will focus on improving policy and medical practices for treating drug users.

Douglas said the new UNODC adviser will also help the Philippines government combat transnational organized crime and drug traffickers.

Because most methamphetamine found in the Philippines originates from other countries in the region, the local government – alongside UNODC  will work with neighboring states to combat the narcotics trade in Southeast Asia.

The UNODC adviser will also press both the Dangerous Drugs Board and the Department of Health to adopt treatment-based approaches to combat substance abuse in the country. Those programs are likely to take the form of community-based models that will more effectively encourage users to minimize their substance dependencies.

While Douglas said the current drug situation in the Philippines is "difficult," UNODC "received positive indications from the government" on proposed policy initiatives to combat the rising use of methamphetamine.

The UN office's upcoming role with the Philippines government may be a sign that the Southeast Asian nation is ready to enact alternative approaches to address the issue.

In June 2016, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte launched a bloody war on drugs, which has alarmed the international community over reports of extrajudicial killings.

Reuters reported more than 8,000 suspected drug addicts and dealers have been killed over the past 10 months.
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