Political storm continues in the Philippines
President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte ranks as one of the most controversial leaders in the world for his outspoken and offensive style as well as his brutal war on drugs in the South East Asian Island. So far estimates place the death count at over 7,000 with reports of roaming death squads and vigilante’s taking it upon themselves to execute suspects caught up in the political storm.
Since winning the presidency in June 2016 Duterte has made a string of outrageous comments. He said in September “Hitler massacred three million Jews. Now, there is three million drug addicts. I’d be happy to slaughter them.” Notwithstanding the president’s horrifically offensive miscalculation of the true cost of The Holocaust (it was six million Jews) it caused outrage across the world. Duterte also accused Obama’s mother of being a sex worker in an outburst against the former US leader who criticised his human rights abuses.
Since the introduction of the controversial policy the world has looked on with revulsion but there may finally be some form of repercussion as a Filipino man who survived a police drug operation in which four of his friends were shot dead, will soon testify against officers after a court ruling today paved the way for criminal proceedings to be brought.
The case marks the first realistic legal challenge to the policy since its enactment. Amnesty International recently published a damning report which concludes that extra-judicial killings by the police in the pursuit of the president’s policy aims may amount to crimes against humanity.
The Court of Appeal in Manila today upheld a complaint put forward by 28-year-old Efren Morillo - one of five men, aged in their late twenties and early thirties, who were shot by armed police in civilian clothing in Payatas last August. Four of the men died but the claimant was shot in the chest and survived by playing dead. Should the claimants win the case it paves the way for murder charges to be brought against the officers who have been prevented from approaching or harassing the families whilst the case is heard.
The case is due to be heard in the coming weeks and there are hopes that should the claimants be successful that the government may have to rethink its barbaric policies.