Filipinos give thumbs up to Duterte’s ‘excellent’ drugs war: poll

Alleged dealers stand next to drug paraphernalia confiscated during a police operation conducted in Manila in this March 15, 2018 file photo. (AFP)
Updated 23 September 2019

Filipinos give thumbs up to Duterte’s ‘excellent’ drugs war: poll

  • Survey: around 82 percent satisfied due to a perception of less drugs and crime in the country
  • ‘If it’s true that there are human rights violations then the people of this country will rise against this administration’

MANILA: Philippine citizens are overwhelmingly satisfied with President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, a survey showed, giving a boost to a government outraged by an international push to investigate allegations of systematic murders by police.
The quarterly poll of 1,200 Filipinos by Social Weather Stations returned a rating of “excellent” for Duterte’s three-year campaign, with 82 percent satisfied due to a perception of less drugs and crime in the country.
That compared to 12 percent dissatisfied, because they believed the drug trade was still flourishing and there were too many killings and police abuses. The survey conducted by the independent pollster in late June had 6 percent undecided.
It was released two days after the leak of a presidential memo ordering departments and state-run firms to decline loans or aid from the 18 countries of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) — among them Spain, Britain and Australia — that backed a resolution to investigate Duterte’s crackdown.
Police say they have killed more than 6,700 suspected drug dealers who all resisted arrest, and deny involvement in the mysterious murders of thousands more drug users.
Police reject allegations by human rights groups that they have executed targets, falsified reports and tampered with evidence and crime scenes.
Presidential spokesman, Salvador Panelo, said the poll showed that the international community had a warped understanding of what was happening.
“If it’s true that there are human rights violations then the people of this country will rise against this administration,” Panelo said on Monday.
“It’s not true that policemen just kill at will, they cannot do that,” he added.
The 47-member Council approved a resolution in July to compile a comprehensive report on the killings, which Manila’s foreign secretary said will not be permitted in the Philippines.
Panelo said domestic investigations had been undertaken already, and the UN resolution was “not only unfair, it’s an insult.”
The International Criminal Court has since last year been conducting a preliminary examination to determine if there are grounds to investigate Duterte. He has responded by canceling the Philippines membership of the court.
Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said domestic surveys showing support for Duterte and his campaign were exactly why an international probe was needed.
“It’s ridiculous to say there is any sort of serious national investigation into these crimes. It’s laughable,” he told news channel ANC.
“We have total impunity that continues to surround those who are involved in this,” he added.


On 16th birthday, California student opens fire at his high school, killing two

Updated 15 November 2019

On 16th birthday, California student opens fire at his high school, killing two

SANTA CLARITA, California: A Southern California high school student pulled a .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun from his backpack and fired on fellow classmates on Thursday morning, killing two and wounding three others.
He saved the last bullet for himself. It was his 16th birthday.
The teenaged gunman, whose name was not provided by police, survived the self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head but was in grave condition in hospital, law enforcement officials said.
Captain Kent Wegener of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told reporters the entire incident, captured on videotape, took 16 seconds as the young man stood in one spot and fired on one student after another.
“From right where he was standing, he doesn’t chase anybody, he fires from where he is until he shoots himself,” Wegener said.
The scene at Saugus High School was reminiscent of other mass shootings at US schools, including Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where a former student with an assault gun killed 17 people on Feb. 14, 2018.
Wegener confirmed the suspect posted a message on his Instagram account before the shooting that said: “Saugus have fun at school tomorrow.” The post was later taken down.
The two slain students were a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy. Two other girls, aged 14 and 15, were wounded, as was a 14-year old boy, Wegener said.

Students are evacuated from Saugus High School onto a school bus after a shooting at the school left two students dead and three wounded on Nove. 14, 2019 in Santa Clarita, California. (Mario Tama/Getty Images/AFP)


Motive unknown
Investigators said they did not yet know what led the student to open fire at the school 40 miles (65 km) north of Los Angeles.
Police said the accused shooter had acted alone. Investigators descended on his family home, blocking off the street. They found no further danger there.
A next-door neighbor, registered nurse Jared Axen, said the suspect had seemed introverted, quiet and sad, possibly despondent over the loss of his father from a heart attack in December 2017.
Axen, 33, said it was the boy who found his father deceased, not long after the older man had regained his sobriety and gotten his life “back on track” after years of struggling with alcohol abuse.
“I would say he (the boy) was hurting and couldn’t ask for help,” Axen said of the suspect, who was a track athlete at the school, involved in Boy Scouts and liked the outdoors, going on hunting trips with his father.
He was of mixed race, born to Japanese-born mother and white father, with an older sister who became a nurse and moved away.
“I would ask him how school was ... he would never bring up concerns of bullying or being a loaner there,” Axen said.
There was no immediate word on where the teen gunman obtained the weapon.
“How do we come out of tragedy? We need to say ‘No more!’ This is a tragic event. It happens too frequently,” said Captain Robert Lewis of Santa Clarita Valley sheriff’s station, striking an emotional note in an otherwise somber news conference.


Latest school shooting
A 16-year-old Saugus High School junior named Pamela, who spoke to Reuters on condition that she not give her last name, said she was in her first-period choir class when some girls ran into the room and said there was a shooting going on.
“Our teacher immediately grabbed a fire extinguisher and got us into her office and locked the door,” Pamela said, adding that one of the girls had been shot in the shoulder.
Taylor Hardges reported seeing people running in the hallways shouting “Run!” She raced into a classroom, where a teacher barricaded the room.
“We’ve had drills. It doesn’t prepare you for the real thing,” she said after reuniting with her father at a designated spot in Santa Clarita’s Central Park.
Her father, Terrence Hardges, said he felt his heart race after Taylor texted him from inside the classroom with the message: “I love you. I’m pinned in a room. We’re locked in.”
The shooting at Saugus was the 85th incidence of gunfire at a school this year, according to Everytown, a gun control advocacy group. It seems sure to reignite a debate over gun control in the 2020 presidential election.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the shooting at Columbine High School, where two teenagers went on a rampage, fatally shooting 12 students and a teacher and wounding more than 20 others before killing themselves.