The Philippine National Police (PNP) estimates that it killed about 4,500 people in a legitimate way. International organizations and observers estimate that more than 12,000 people have died, many of whom are victims of summary executions.
Manila (AsiaNews) - For the first time, Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte (photo) has admitted that extrajudicial killings took place in the war on drugs promoted by his government. The confession could give strength to the two complaints against Duterte filed with the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague. In a speech before government officials at the presidential palace this morning, Duterte once again tackled one of the issues that most shocked the country in the first two years of his mandate.
The president said he had challenged the government and military police to remove him from his post if they were not satisfied with the way he leads the nation. "I told the military, what is my fault? Did I steal even one peso?" Mr Duterte said. "My only sin is the extrajudicial killings." Shortly after Duterte's speech, spokesman Harry Roque called on citizens "not to take the president's joking seriously".
The Philippine National Police (PNP) claims to have killed about 4,500 people in drug-fighting operations conducted in the last two years, insisting that in all cases the use of force was legitimate. However, international organizations and observers estimate that more than 12,000 people have died, many of whom are victims of summary executions. The Catholic Church is among the few voices that denounce the dead, in spite of the polls that reveal the widespread popularity of the Philippine president. In response to criticism of extrajudicial killings, Duterte has repeatedly launched harsh attacks on bishops and priests.