Newsbrief: More Death Squad Drug Killings in the Philippines 10/31/03

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As previously reported by DRCNet, the Philippines' highly-publicized war on drugs has been marked by murder. Drug dealers and users on police lists are found shot to death on a regular basis, and while police blame drug gang wars for the killings, everyone else is pointing at shady vigilante death squads. In September, the local media reported a death toll of 125 in General Santos City alone, and the shadowy executioners were busy last weekend in Davao del Sur on Mindanao island.

According to the Mindanao Gold Star Daily, "armed men believed to be members of the dreaded 'death squad' killed at least five suspected pushers in Santa Cruz town." The murders are only the latest in Santa Cruz, where the mayor is complaining that killing drug suspects could erode public support in the drug war, a local government unit has formally asked the Philippine National Police to stop such executions, and a local congressman is threatening to raise the issue in the lower House.

The Filipino government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has in the past two years embarked on an anti-drug crusade so extreme that mainstream politicians are howling for the death penalty to be imposed against drug traffickers, schoolchildren are being encouraged to turn in drug users, and elected officials give a wink and a nod to the extracurricular activities of their police.

Recently, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte shrugged off charges that he is behind the killings there. "If they think it's me, so be it," he said. Duterte also denied the murders were government-sponsored. "There are just people out there perhaps who could not tolerate the proliferation of illegal drugs in the city," he told the Philippine Star Daily. Duterte also warned drug sellers and users who had turned themselves in to avoid the death squads that if they returned to their old ways either the vigilantes or the law would get them.

See and for previous DRCNet reporting on the Philippines anti-drug murders. See,13673,501020701-265480,00.html for coverage by Phil Zabriskie in Time magazine.

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Issue #307, 10/17/03 Editorial: It's Time to Rejoin the Free World | Presenting "BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters" | Decriminalization Comes to Britain: House of Commons Passes Cannabis Rescheduling Bill | Leftist Legalizer Elected Mayor of Bogota in Voter Rebuke of Colombian President | Dutch Government Seeks Ban on Foreigners in Coffee Shops | One and a Half Million Drug Arrests Last Year, Nearly 700,000 for Marijuana, FBI Reports | Media Scan: David Borden on Cultural Baggage, Forbes, Alternet, Pot TV | This Week in History | Newsbrief: MAPS/UMass Marijuana Grow Proposal Gets Backing from Senators Kennedy and Kerry | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story | Newsbrief: Campaign Comments -- Lieberman on Drug War Racial Disparities | Newsbrief: Federal Appeals Court Says Nervousness Not Enough to Prompt Driver Search | Newsbrief: More Death Squad Drug Killings in the Philippines | Newsbrief: Retrograde Drug Politics in Kentucky Governor's Race | Newsbrief: North Carolina Congressman in Drug Treatment Slush Fund Scandal | DRCNet Temporarily Suspending Our Web-Based Write-to-Congress Service Due to Funding Shortfalls -- Your Help Can Bring It Back -- Keep Contacting Congress in the Meantime | Perry Fund Accepting Applications for 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 School Years, Providing Scholarships for Students Losing Aid Because of Drug Convictions | The Reformer's Calendar

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