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Inquirer editor defends list of drug war deaths

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 01:41 AM September 23, 2016

It was not a “tally” but a list of people killed since President Duterte assumed office on June 30.

John Nery, editor in chief of Inquirer.net, made this distinction on Thursday when he appeared at the Senate investigation of extrajudicial killings in the country.

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Nery said the “kill list,” as the name implied, was not a tally but a “listing of the names and other particulars of people killed” in the Duterte administration’s war on illegal drugs.

The names on the “kill list,” he said, were collected by different news gathering operations of the Inquirer—the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Inquirer.net, Radyo Inquirer, Inquirer Bandera and Cebu Daily News.

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Nery said that from  July 7 to  Sept. 19, the Inquirer Group listed a total of 1,027 deaths—273 remained unidentified while a hundred were identified only by their aliases based on police reports.

“So all in all, you have about 650 actual names of people who are killed,” he said at the joint hearing of the Senate committees on justice and human rights, and on public order.

He said the Inquirer Group’s total was 1,027. “Of these listings, 273 remained unidentified. Why is that so? Because when we went to the police sources, they were not identified there.”

He reiterated that it was not a tally.

“It’s very difficult to see the difference between a thousand deaths and two thousand deaths and it becomes just a mere statistic. So, the idea for the kill list was to identify as much as possible the people who are killed in both police operations and vigilante-style operations,” Nery said, responding to queries of Sen. Leila de Lima.

While he said he knew that the “kill list” referred to the people who were killed, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano said the name “kill list” had a different meaning in international communities.

“The problem in the international community, especially in the United States and Europe where  they are very sensitive with human rights, ‘kill list’ is an intelligence term of the CIA … to mean an assassination list,” Cayetano said, lamenting  how the media have been “loosely” using kill list.

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