Drug war death toll now at 6,165; arrested suspects at 298,348 — PDEA
MANILA, Philippines — The number of individuals who have died during legitimate drug war operations since President Rodrigo Duterte took office has reached 6,165, data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Real Numbers showed.
PDEA’s Real Numbers, a regular update on drug war statistics, also revealed that anti-narcotics groups conducted 207,007 drug war operations from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2021 from which 298,348 suspects were arrested.
The latest numbers show an increase of 154 fatalities compared to numbers recorded last December, which was only at 6,011. This means that from January 1, 2021 to June 30, almost one suspect died every day, as there were 180 days between the two dates.
However, on July 23, a University of the Philippines (UP) study said that the drug war had killed an estimated two people each day.
But aside from the casualty count, PDEA also reported that 12,608 high-value targets had been arrested already, broken down into the following numbers:
307 foreign nationals
386 elected officials
119 uniformed personnel
489 government employees
3,575 target listed individuals
783 drug group leaders and members
72 armed group members
1,264 drug den maintainers
273 on wanted lists
22 celebrities and Professional Regulatory Commission license holders
5,318 individuals arrested from high impact
The 489 government employees and the 119 uniformed personnel join 386 elected officials who were arrested in drug operations, for a total of 994 suspects who are working for the government.
The estimated amount of the illegal substances seized totaled P61.69 billion — of which P50.94 billion are crystal meth or shabu, weighing over 8,077 kilograms. There were also over 6,378 kilograms of marijuana leaves, 523 kilograms of cocaine, and 123,738 pieces of ecstasy tablets seized.
While President Duterte has earned praise for leading a campaign against illegal drugs, it is also a focal point of criticisms thrown against his administration due to the bloody execution of the drug war.
Duterte is currently facing a possible investigation from the International Criminal Court (ICC) after relatives of drug war victims and human rights advocates filed a complaint against him for committing crimes against humanity.
Former ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, before she stepped down from office last June 14, formally requested judicial authority to proceed with a full-blown investigation of Duterte and his drug war after supposedly finding sufficient reason to believe that the crime against humanity of murder was committed.
According to Bensouda’s report, there was a reason to believe that state actors have killed thousands of civilians under the drug war and that vigilante-style killings were perpetrated by police officers themselves or other private individuals hired by authorities — leading to a death toll of between 12,000 to 30,000 civilians.
This was based on claims that extrajudicial killings (EJKs) have been rampant in the country. Duterte stressed that the government is not behind these EJKs as a probe he ordered showed that warring gangs were behind the summary executions.
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