Drug war ‘reloaded’

>> Thursday, March 16, 2017


Barely had national police chief Ronald Dela Rosa said police chief said Monday his forces had "reloaded" and were back fighting their president's deadly war on drugs when nine drug suspects were shot and killed in Bulacan Monday and Tuesday.
This, as critics warned of more extrajudicial killings and other widespread human rights abuses in the drug war, with Amnesty International saying police may be guilty of crimes against humanity.
It accused police of fatally shooting defenseless people, paying assassins to murder addicts and stealing from those they killed.
Following criticism, President Rodrigo Duterte stopped the Philippine National Police’s war against drugs just over a month after they were withdrawn because of widespread corruption, but now that it was resumed, expect more casualties despite the PNP’s declarations that it would be less bloody.
Duterte said late January he suspended all police from his crackdown on illegal drugs, which has claimed more than 6,500 lives, after describing them "rotten to the core".
Dela Rosa said Monday reforms had been implemented to ensure there was no repeat of previous problems, which included anti-drugs officers kidnapping and murdering a South Korean businessman.
He said the war on drugs is on, and “this time it is going to be more extensive, aggressive and well-coordinated, with built-in systems that guarantee full accountability and instill internal discipline among all personnel."
The drug war was originally named "Double Barrel," in a reference to a two-pronged strategy of police fighting the drug war on the streets while also focusing on "high value" targets.
                A police statement announcing the new campaign named it as "Double Barrel Reloaded".
Dela Rosa said in the statement there had been a "resurgence" in the drugs trade while police had been suspended.
"It only goes to show that we cannot afford to lower our guard when confronting a vicious enemy. There must be continuity of effort if the desire is to completely eradicate the problem," he said.
Duterte said in late January he planned to "cleanse" the police force, which has long been regarded as one of the most corrupt institutions in the country, before letting it return to the drug war frontlines.
The PNP press release referred to specific measures to stop corrupt police officers from being involved in the drug war, rather than structural measures to tackle graft throughout the force.
Duterte won presidential elections last year after promising to eradicate drugs in society by killing tens of thousands of people.
Since then, police have reported killing more than 2,550 people and nearly 4,000 others have died in unexplained circumstances, according to official figures.
But despite this, according to government spokesmen, more Filipinos support the drug war. Reports point out however, a sizable number of Filipinos are against it after a lot of drug suspects got killed without benefit of a fair court trial. With resumption of the drug war, expect more casualties and it will only strike home among its strong supporters when a member of their family gets killed.  


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