Philippines’ Duterte says police must return to drug war

Philippine President Duterte Rodrigo Duterte in October announced that Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency would take the lead role in his deadly drug war. (Reuters)
Updated 23 November 2017
0

Philippines’ Duterte says police must return to drug war

MANILA: Philippine President Duterte Rodrigo Duterte has called on police to once again take the lead role in his deadly drug war, having twice demoted them in response to criticism of the crackdown.
The fiery leader, who rights groups say may be orchestrating a crime against humanity with his bloody anti-drugs campaign, said the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) with 2,000 officers was incapable of doing the job.
“Whether I like it or not, I have to return that power to the police,” he said in a speech on Wednesday night.
Duterte, 72, was elected last year on a promise to eradicate drugs from Philippine society by launching an unprecedented campaign in which up to 100,000 people would die.
He first ordered the police to take a step back in January, describing them as “corrupt to the core” and instructing the PDEA to lead after revelations that officers kidnapped and murdered a South Korean businessman.
But it wasn’t long before Duterte reinstated the 165,000-strong force without any major reforms, re-launching the war under the name “Double Barrel Reloaded” — so-called for the two-pronged police strategy to wipe out drugs.
In October, he announced the PDEA would again take the helm in the face of mounting public opposition, including rare street protests triggered by the murder of three teenagers — allegedly by police officers.
His latest decision follows a regional summit in Manila this month where US President Donald Trump and most other world leaders were silent on allegations of extrajudicial killings in the drug war.
Trump instead hailed his “great relationship” with Duterte and praised him for hosting the meeting, a move rights groups say may have emboldened Duterte to pursue his campaign.
Duterte last month admitted that he removed police from the drug war “in deference” to critics including rights campaigners, Catholic bishops and the European Union.
Neither Duterte nor his spokesman Harry Roque said when police would rejoin.
Asked about government reforms this time around, Roque told reporters Thursday: “He (Duterte) has also said that by and large, not everyone in the (police) is corrupt and therefore he still believes in the institution.”
Since Duterte took office, police have reported killing 3,967 people in the crackdown.
Another 2,290 have been murdered in drug-related crimes, while thousands of other deaths remain unsolved, according to government data.


’We failed them’: Australia apologizes to child sex abuse victims

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison (C) delivers a national apology to child sex abuse victims in the House of Representatives in Parliament House in Canberra on October 22, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 54 min 11 sec ago
0

’We failed them’: Australia apologizes to child sex abuse victims

  • The state apology comes after a five-year Royal Commission that detailed more than 15,000 survivors’ harrowing child sex abuse claims involving thousands of institutions

CANBERRA: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued a national apology to victims of child sex abuse in an emotional address to parliament Monday, acknowledging the state failed to stop “evil dark crimes” committed over decades.
“This was done by Australians to Australians, enemies in our midst, enemies in our midst,” Morrison told parliament in a nationally televised address.
“As a nation, we failed them, we forsook them, and that will always be our shame,” he said, his voice cracking as he recounted abuse that permeated religious and state-backed institutions.
Decrying abuse that happened “day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade” in schools, churches, youth groups, scout groups, orphanages, sports clubs and family homes, Morrison declared a new national credo in the face of allegations: “We believe you.”
“Today, we say sorry, to the children we failed. Sorry. To the parents whose trust was betrayed and who have struggled to pick up the pieces. Sorry. To the whistleblowers, who we did not listen to. Sorry.
“To the spouses, partners, wives, husbands, children, who have dealt with the consequences of the abuse, cover-ups and obstruction. Sorry. To generations past and present. Sorry.”
The state apology comes after a five-year Royal Commission that detailed more than 15,000 survivors’ harrowing child sex abuse claims involving thousands of institutions.
In parliament, lawmakers stood for a moment of silence following the remarks as hundreds of survivors looked on or watched in official events across the country.
Relatives of victims who have died wore the tags with the names of daughters and sons, brothers and sisters, for whom this apology comes too late.
A series of institutions have already apologized for their failings, including Australian Catholic leaders who have lamented the church’s “shameful” history of child abuse and cover-ups.
According to the Royal Commission, seven percent of Catholic priests in Australia were accused of abuse between 1950 and 2010, but the allegations were never investigated, with children ignored and even punished.
Some senior members of the church in Australia have been prosecuted and found guilty of covering up abuse.