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Justice review reveals lapses, use of excessive force in drug warThe Philippines

DPA
Manila
The Philippines’ Department of Justice on Wednesday released details of 52 cases of killings it reviewed under the government’s anti-illegal drugs campaign, showing excessive use of force and lapses in procedures by police.
The department’s review of the cases also found various instances when there were no records or evidence to support claims by police officers that the slain suspects fought back during the anti-drug operations. The cases involved 58 slain suspects in police operations from 2016, when President Rodrigo Duterte took office and launched the anti-illegal drugs crackdown, up to 2020.
The information was released two weeks after the UN human rights commissioner called for the Duterte administration to be transparent about a review of the anti-drug war, which the president announced in September amid unrelenting criticism over the high death toll.
In one case in July 2017, “the suspect was found to have sustained no less than 15 gunshot wounds, particularly on the head, trunk, and upper and lower extremities,” the review said. In a number of the cases, paraffin tests on the slain suspects turned out negative for gunpowder nitrates, while in other instances the alleged weapons of the suspects were not included in the collected evidence. Human Rights Watch (HRW) said the information released affirmed “that police conduct in the ‘drug war’ violates due process and established police procedures.”
“Based on these 52 cases alone, it is clear that the ‘drug war’ is an illegal, murderous state policy being carried out by a police force that has been commanded by the president himself to disregard due process,” said Carlos Conde, HRW senior Philippine researcher.

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