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Reflections

“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, in the final act, by determination and faith.”

― Archibald MacLeish

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Duterte: STOP Extra-Judicial Killings In The Philippines!


"Kung ayaw niyo mamatay, huwag kayo umasa sa mga pari at human rights. Hindi makakapigil ng kamatayan yan!"
Duterte
"Let any one of you who is without sin be the first
 to throw a stone at her."
Jesus
When the DoDirty Death Squad (DDS) Came...
When they came for drug  addicts
I remained silent,
I wasn't a drug addict.
When they came for street children
I remained silent
I wasn't a street kid.
When  they killed the gang suspects
I remained silent
I felt safer.
When they became bolder and bolder 
I remained silent
I wasn't their political opponent.
When they killed innocent people
I remained silent,
I wasn't from Davao.
When they came for me
There was no else to speak out!
Body Count: 420 people have been killed in the campaign (EJP) since DO 30 assumed office a month ago. NYT
Jennilyn Olayres weeping over the body of her husband, Michael Siaron, who was killed in the Manila metropolitan area last month. 
Reuters
From New York Times
MANILA — Since Rodrigo Duterte became president of the Philippines just over a month ago, promising to get tough on crime by having the police and the military kill drug suspects, 420 people have been killed in the campaign, according to tallies of police reports by the local news media.
Most were killed in confrontations with the police, while 154 were killed by unidentified vigilantes. This has prompted 114,833 people to turn themselves in, as either drug addicts or dealers, since Mr. Duterte took office, according to national police logs.
Addressing Congress last week in his first State of the Nation address, Mr. Duterte reiterated his take-no-prisoners approach, ordering the police to “triple” their efforts against crime.
“We will not stop until the last drug lord, the last financier and the last pusher have surrendered or been put behind bars or below the ground, if they so wish,” he said.
But human rights groups, Roman Catholic activists and the families of many of those killed during the crackdown say that the vast majority were poor Filipinos, many of whom had nothing to do with the drug trade. They were not accorded an accusation and a trial, but were simply shot down in the streets, the critics say.
“These are not the wealthy and powerful drug lords who actually have meaningful control over supply of drugs on the streets in the Philippines,” said Phelim Kine, a deputy director of Human Rights Watch in Asia.
Critics of the president’s campaign have rallied around the case of Michael Siaron, a 29-year-old rickshaw driver in Manila, who was shot one night by unidentified gunmen as he pedaled his vehicle in search of a passenger. When his wife rushed to the scene, a photographer took a picture of her cradling his body in the street, and the photograph quickly gained wide attention.
Scribbled in block letters on a cardboard sign left near his body was the word “pusher.” His family members insist that he was not involved in the drug trade, though they said he sometimes used meth.
Indirectly acknowledging criticism that his policies trample over the standard judicial process, Mr. Duterte said that human rights “cannot be used as a shield to destroy the country.”
He has called for drug users and sellers to turn themselves in or risk being hunted down, a threat backed up by the bodies piling up near daily on the streets of Philippine cities.
From HumanRights Watch
"You can die anytime!"
At around 6 p.m. on July 17, 2008, 20-year-old Jaypee Larosa left his home in Lanang, a quiet residential neighborhood in Davao City, to go to a nearby Internet cafe. An hour later his family heard six successive gunshots. A neighbor rushed into their house to say one of their sons had been shot in front of the café. Jaypee was taken to a hospital, but was declared dead on arrival.
Eyewitnesses said that Larosa had been shot by three men in dark jackets who had arrived on a motorcycle. After they shot him, one of them removed the baseball cap Larosa was wearing and said, “Son of a bitch. This is not the one,” and they immediately left the scene. It appears that the assailants were seeking to kill another man, a suspected robber. No one has been arrested for Larosa’s murder. His family is unaware of the police having taken any meaningful action in the case.
Jaypee Larosa is just one of hundreds of victims of unresolved targeted killings committed over the past decade in Davao City and elsewhere in the Philippines. Dozens of family members have described to Human Rights Watch the murder of their loved ones, all killed in similar fashion. 
Most victims are alleged drug dealers, petty criminals, and street children, some of whom are members of street gangs. Impunity for such crimes is nearly total—few such cases have been seriously investigated by the police, let alone prosecuted.
We obtained detailed and consistent information on the DDS from relatives and friends of death squad members with direct knowledge of death squad operations, as well as journalists, community activists, and government officials who provided detailed corroborating evidence.
According to these “insiders,” most members of the DDS are either former communist New People’s Army insurgents who surrendered to the government or young men who themselves were death squad targets and joined the group to avoid being killed. Most can make far more money with the DDS than in other available occupations. Their handlers, called amo (boss), are usually police officers or ex-police officers. They provide them with training, weapons and ammunition, motorcycles, and information on the targets. Death squad members often use .45-caliber handguns, a weapon commonly used by the police but normally prohibitively expensive for gang members and common criminals.
The insiders told Human Rights Watch that the amo obtain information about targets from police or barangay (village or city district) officials, who compile lists of targets. The amo provides members of a death squad team with as little as the name of the target, and sometimes an address and a photograph. Police stations are then notified to ensure that police officers are slow to respond, enabling the death squad members to escape the crime scene, even when they commit killings near a police station.
The consistent failure of the Philippine National Police to seriously investigate apparent targeted killings is striking. Witnesses to killings told Human Rights Watch that the police routinely arrive at the scene long after the assailants leave, even if the nearest police station is minutes away. Police often fail to collect obvious evidence such as spent bullet casings, or question witnesses or suspects, but instead pressure the families of victims to identify the killers.
Our research found that the killings follow a pattern. The assailants usually arrive in twos or threes on a motorcycle without a license plate. They wear baseball caps and buttoned shirts or jackets, apparently to conceal their weapons underneath. They shoot or, increasingly, stab their victim without warning, often in broad daylight and in presence of multiple eyewitnesses, for whom they show little regard. And as quickly as they arrive, they ride off—but almost always before the police appear.
The killings probably have not generated the public outrage that would be expected because most of the victims have been young men known in their neighborhood for involvement in small-scale drug dealing or minor crimes such as petty theft and drug use. Other victims have been gang members and street children.
Frequently, the victims had earlier been warned that their names were on a “list” of people to be killed unless they stopped engaging in criminal activities. The warnings were delivered by barangay officials, police officers, and sometimes even city government officials. In other cases, the victims were killed immediately after their release from police custody or prison, or shortly after they returned from hiding.