Newsbrief: Drug War Sparking Death Squad Killings Again in Philippines 9/26/03

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Flagellated by a sensationalist press and egged-on by publicity-seeking politicians, the Philippines is deep in the depths of another round of drug war madness, and the death toll is mounting -- again. Just a few years ago, Davao City was the scene of vigilante-style executions of hundreds of suspected drug dealers, and now, according to the General Santos Sunstar, the anti-drug death squads are showing up in General Santos City.

As usual, the authorities pronounce themselves mystified by the killings -- all of people on police watch lists of suspected dealers or users -- or suggest that the drug dealers are killing each other. But local residents told the paper they believed the killings were the work of Davao-style death squads.

More than 120 people have been killed in what police call "drug related summary executions" in General Santos City since November 2001. That's according to Efren Alcuizar, chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency for Central Mindanao. All of them were on anti-drug watch lists, he said. But PDEA had nothing to do with it, he was quick to add. The latest victims, two young men in their twenties, were gunned down by hooded, motorcycle-riding vigilantes on September 13 and 14, the newspaper reported.

Local businessmen could be paying the killers, Alcuizar suggested, citing the May 2002 case of two would-be assassins captured by police who said they were being paid by business interests to kill drug dealers. Those two later were killed "reportedly attempting to escape," the paper noted. Mayor Pedro Acharon Jr., however, denied the existence of anti-drug vigilante groups in the city. Instead, he suggested, the killings are the result of drug deals gone bad or disputes over profits.

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Issue #304, 9/26/03 Editorial: Patients vs. Prosecutors | Pain Doctor Arrests Provoke Backlash -- Group Urges FDA to Stop Cooperating With Justice Department | Cheryl Miller Memorial Project Does DC | Hawaii Meth Mania: Drug Summit, Media Push Target "Ice" | Playing It Smart: Sensible Seattle and the Winning of I-75 | Newsbrief: Dr. Hurwitz Indicted, Jailed in Campaign Against Pain Doctors | Newsbrief: MAPS-Sponsored Ecstasy Research Wins Final FDA Approval | Newsbrief: Rio de Janeiro Jails Stuffed With Drug Offenders | Newsbrief: UN Warns Stimulants "Public Enemy Number One," Cites Flawed Science, Attacks "Liberalization" | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story | Newsbrief: Cannabis Tolerance Showing Up in India | Newsbrief: Canadian Government to Appeal BC Marijuana Legalization Ruling | Newsbrief: Drug War Sparking Death Squad Killings Again in Philippines | Newsbrief: Ashcroft Says No Plea Bargains in Latest Bid to Send America to Prison Forever | Newsbrief: Mandatory Minimum Sentences Unfair, Says Supreme Court Justice | This Week in History | Current Action Alerts: Medical Marijuana, Plan Colombia, HEA, Ashcroft's Attack on Judicial Discretion | Perry Fund Accepting Applications for 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 School Years, Providing Scholarships for Students Losing Aid Because of Drug Convictions | Errata: Last Week's Corrupt Cops Story | The Reformer's Calendar
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