WHAT WENT BEFORE: Controversial drug killings
As of Oct. 25, the Philippine National Police said 4,715 drug suspects had been killed since July 1 when President Duterte assumed office and began to carry out his campaign promise to eliminate the illegal drug problem, which he described as a “pandemic.”
The PNP listed 1,714 deaths in police operations and 3,001 others in incidents perpetrated by unknown assailants.
Among the many mysterious incidents critics described as bearing the hallmarks of extrajudicial executions were:
The torture and death of Harra Kasuo’s live-in partner, Jaypee Bertes, and his father, Renato Bertes, on July 7, after their arrest the night in their house in Pasay City. They were beaten and taken to the Pasay City Police Station 4. Kazuo visited the two twice, the last at 10 a.m., when her husband, unable to stand properly because of injuries, pleaded to her behind bars: “Have me examined by a doctor.” When she came back around 4:15 p.m., they were gone. Father and son died while in police custody, allegedly after trying to grab a pistol from one of the arresting officers.
Chinese drug lord Meco Tan was allegedly killed in a firefight at Barangay Lingunan in Valenzuela City on July 22. Tan, who was said to be involved in operating “shabu” laboratories in the country for the past 13 years, is believed to be the first high-profile suspect slain since Mr. Duterte took office.
Melvin Odicta, 56, and wife Meriam, 51, were shot and killed moments after they stepped off a roll-on, roll-off vessel at the port of Caticlan in Aklan province on Aug. 29. The couple sustained multiple gunshot wounds from the attack of a lone gunman on the 100-meter walkway. Two days earlier, the PNP described Odicta, the No. 1 drug lord, nicknamed “Dragon,” on Panay island.
Zenaida Luz, 51, was killed by gunmen on a motorcycle outside her house in Gloria town in Mindoro province. The attackers were later identified as Senior Insp. Magdaleno Pimentel Jr. of the Oriental Mindoro Police Public Safety Company and Insp. Markson Almeranez, Socorro town police chief. Luz was regional chief of the Citizens Crime Watch. She had been working on a livelihood program for former drug users and pushers who had surrendered.
Mayor Samsudin Dimaukom of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao province, and wife Anida, the town’s vice mayor, flew to Manila and turned themselves in after Mr. Duterte linked him and 150 other former and current government officials to illegal drugs. On Oct. 28, Dimaukom was killed along with nine others, in what police described as a predawn shootout at a checkpoint in Makilala, North Cotabato.
Five people were shot and killed by six masked men in a suspected drug den in Mandaluyong City. The killings followed Thursday’s a police-sponsored “Zumballoween Win Win Win against illegal drugs,” during which policemen wearing creepy costumes celebrated Halloween. The police recovered from the house several drug paraphernalia, including foil and toother and five pieces of plastic sachets containing “shabu,” or crystal meth.
There were these so-called “collateral damage”:
Danica May, 5, was killed when unidentified gunmen barged in the house of her grandfather, Maximo Garcia, 53. The attack occurred three days after Garcia, a tricycle driver, had surrendered to the police upon knowing that he was on the police drug list. Police theorized that drug dealers were behind the assault.
Althea Fhem Barbon, 4, died in police gunfire directed at her father, a drug suspect, during a chase in Guihulngan City, Negros Occidental province, on Aug. 30. Barbon, No. 5 on the police drug list, was driving his motorcycle, with the girl sitting in front, when police fired.
—Compiled by Rafael L. Antonio, Inquirer Research
Source: Inquirer Archives
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