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1.8K Dead in Philippines' War on Drugs

Rodrigo Duterte's crackdown draws more critics, human rights groups
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2016 12:40 PM CDT
1.8K Dead in Philippines' War on Drugs
Nearly 1,800 suspected criminals have been killed in Philippines since since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in June.   (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)

(Newser) – Seven weeks into Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs and crime, nearly 1,800 people are dead and human rights groups are outraged, Time reports. Officials had previously placed the death toll from the drug crackdown at 900, but the national police chief told a Senate hearing on Monday that 712 people have been killed since June 30 and another 1,067 drug-related killings are under investigation. Sen. Leila de Lima, a Duterte critic, demanded answers, calling the slayings “unprecedented,” Reuters reports. "I am disturbed that we have killings left and right as breakfast every morning," she said. Since Duterte, 71, was elected in a May landslide victory, the former mayor known as "the Punisher" has promised to “butcher” criminals—and urged ordinary citizens to do the same. "Shoot him and I'll give you a medal," Duterte said.

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Shocking photos show bound and bloodied suspected drug dealers, with signs around their necks proclaiming their crimes, CNN reports; one photo showed a woman cradling her dead lover in the street where he was shot, a sign reading "I'm a pusher" by his side. Duterte's response: "You end up sprawled on the ground and you are portrayed in a broadsheet like Mother Mary cradling the dead cadaver of Jesus Christ. Well, that's very dramatic." Duterte has shrugged off outrage with similar bravado and threatened to declare martial law. In comments that have raised alarms in Washington, Duterte on Sunday threatened leave the "stupid" UN if that body butts in. But his foreign minister, Perfecto Yasay, later reversed course and said Duterte's tough talk sprang from "profound disappointment and frustration,” Reuters notes. (Read more Rodrigo Duterte stories.)

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