Getting Away With Murder

Since Roger Duterte's inauguration in June, his expressed desire to rid the Philippines of the scourge of methamphetamine has sanctioned the killing of thousands by police and vigilante death squads.
"Do your duty and if in the process you kill 1000 persons…I will protect you", declares Duterte openly, pledging in a recent public address to kill every drug dealer and addict in the country. His promise to support the people that perpetrate these heinous crimes has preceded a dramatic rise in vigilante murders, with assassin couples like Ace and Sheila justifying their actions with the claim that, "Many lives will be ruined" if they do not carry out their hits.

Those who surrender in the face of this initiative enter dangerously overcrowded prisons and consider themselves lucky to have escaped death. In the meantime, this anti-drug purge is claiming the lives of countless innocent victims. Terry Tiamson, whose daughter Rowena was killed in a case of mistaken identity, is one of many mourning the loss of loved ones. With Duterte and his representatives evading interventions by senate officials, it is unknown when these horrific human rights abuses shall end. As Chito Gascon says, "it might be a long hard winter ahead of us. And not everyone will survive winter".

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