Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte described the killing of 32 people in simultaneous drug raids this week as “good.”
The 67 police operations Monday night through Tuesday morning in various parts of Bulacan, a province north of the capital, also led to the arrests of 108 others, the Philippine National Police said at a news conference Tuesday in Manila, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.
“The Bulacan police is continuously and relentlessly implementing its intensified campaign against illegal drugs otherwise known as ‘Project Double Barrel Reloaded’ and all other forms of criminality,” the Philippine National Police said in a statement.
Duterte urged police to kill several dozen drug suspects every day.
“The ones who died recently in Bulacan, 32, in a massive raid, that is good,” Duterte said in a speech to Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption in Manila. “We could just kill another 32 everyday, then maybe we could reduce what ails this country.”
The raids resulted in the most deaths in one day since Duterte began his raid on drugs as president in July 2016.
Police said it seized more than 230 grams of suspected crystal meth or shabu, 765 grams of marijuana leaves, grenades, firearms and ammunition from the suspects.
On July 30 in the southern city of Ozamiz on the Mindao island, officers killed 15 people, including a city mayor. Eight days earlier, legislators in the Philippines extended martial law on the island of Mindanao to help deal with violence by an Islamist insurgency.
Although Duterte has said the police force was “corrupt to the core,” he has vowed to protect officers who kill drug suspects.
“Duterte’s consistent cheerleading for an unlawful killing campaign that killed at least 7,000 – and perhaps as many as 12,000 – of the country’s most poverty-stricken citizens makes him complicit in the incitement and instigation of mass killings,” Phelime Kine, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a Telegraph report.
The president and top aides have been accused of crimes against humanity in a complaint with the International Criminal Court.
“Those fools, they say it can’t be done. They said, ‘he can’t do it.’ ” Duterte said Tuesday. “What if you were the ones in my place? I who ordered the killing couldn’t do it, how much more you? Let’s not have drama here. You will be far worse than what we have now.”
By Allen Cone