Amnesty International denounces Phillipines ‘extrajudicial killings’

By Jim Gomez, AP

MANILA, Philippines — A majority of the thousands of killings of poor suspects under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-drug crackdown appear to be “extrajudicial executions,” Amnesty International said Wednesday, and may constitute crimes against humanity.

The London-based human rights group urged Duterte’s government to adopt an approach that respects human rights in its fight against drugs and crime, and called on the police and judiciary to ensure accountability and prosecute officers involved in unlawful killings.

After investigating the deaths of 59 people, and interviewing 110 witnesses, relatives of slain suspects, drug users, police officers and even hired killers, from November to December, Amnesty said it had concluded that “the vast majority of these killings appear to have been extrajudicial executions.”

Amnesty said it’s “deeply concerned that the deliberate and widespread killings of alleged drug offenders, which appear to be systematic, planned and organized by the authorities, may constitute crimes against humanity.”

Amnesty said it interviewed two hired killers who were paid 10,000 pesos (US$200) by a police officer for each killing they carried out.