Murder, he said

Rodrigo Duterte
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About extrajudicial killings (EJKs) in Davao city there have been rumors for over a decade. The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) looked into them in 2003 and found that the killing of dozens of people, most of them male, and under both Philippine and international standards, children — some of the victims were as young as 14 — apparently had to do with Davao’s reputation as a low-crime city. The implication was that the killing of who were then described as mostly petty criminals was the chosen strategy of the administration of then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to rid the city of crime.

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Reckless endangerment

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EIGHT out of ten Filipinos, a December 17 Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey has found, fear that they or someone they know could be a victim of extrajudicial killings or EJKs.

As Senator Grace Poe has observed, the fear is understandable in view of the epidemic of killings in the course of the Duterte anti-illegal drug campaign. The police killing spree has claimed not only the lives of drug pushers and users; it has also victimized both those individuals who have nothing to do with the drug trade as well as drug addicts driven to the habit by poverty and desperation.

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Deterring crime

Detail from Pisanello's Saint George and the Princess
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PRESIDENT-ELECT Rodrigo Duterte’s reiteration of a campaign promise to have Congress restore the death penalty resonates among most Filipinos who’re justly concerned with,  and are in fact terrified by, the crimes that almost daily threaten their homes, their property and their lives and those of their kin. The number of rapes has nearly doubled, say women’s groups, and murders, kidnappings, assaults, and robberies have been multiplying, even as the drug trade destroys entire families. Outrage over these crimes’ persistence and their going unpunished is not limited to the survivors and kin of the victims. The demand for retribution cuts across classes but is especially strong among the students, professionals, office employees, and graveyard shift workers who feel they’re most vulnerable, and who are the most common crime victims.

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Clueless in Brussels

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IN THE COURSE of his visit to several European countries, President Benigno Aquino III rejected, during a forum in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, what he called “blanket statements”—and proceeded to make some blanket statements of his own.

Mr. Aquino was responding to the claims of protesters and some forum participants that human rights violations including extrajudicial killings have been continuing during his administration despite his 2010 campaign promise to put a stop to them, and that the government’s counter-insurgency program endangered people’s rights and lives.

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No bragging rights for Aquino

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PRESIDENT Benigno Simeon Aquino III is leaving for several European countries this Sunday, September 13, during which he’s expected to enhance those countries’ support for the Philippine position in its dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea. Having just submitted to Congress the draft of the long-awaited Bangsamoro Basic Law, Mr. Aquino is also likely to brag before the leaders of Spain, Germany, France, and Belgium how he has made peace with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

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The PNP’s grammar of deception

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IF eight out of 145 crimes have been solved, and in most cases no thanks to you, should you be crowing about it? Eight out of 145 is about three percent of the total cases of journalists and media workers killed in this country, but the Philippine National Police (PNP) nevertheless thinks that that shameful record is to its credit.

The PNP also insists that “only” 48 journalists have been killed in the Philippines since 1986, on the argument—which Aquino administration spokespersons cite as well—that some of those killed were “only” drivers and other media workers, while others were not journalists, and were killed for various non-work related reasons.

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