Friday 20 April 2018

Filipino police paid €280 per drug dealer they murder, claims report

Controversial Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte. Photo: REUTERS
Controversial Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte. Photo: REUTERS

Nicola Smith

Police and professional hitmen are being paid up to €280 per body for killing drug dealers and users in the Philippines, according to a report by Amnesty International.

Allegations of a bounty system for extra-judicial killings came as the death toll from President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs reportedly topped 7,000.

Duterte swept to power last year on a populist wave after promising to rid the Philippines of drug-related crime. But the streets he pledged to clean have since run with the blood of those murdered by vigilantes and yesterday a report from Amnesty International seemed to confirm what many feared - that the police may also be involved.

A 68-page report from the human rights group - based on testimony from self-proclaimed paid killers, a named police officer and multiple eyewitnesses - claims assassins are on the police payroll and that officers themselves are paid to kill suspects. Amnesty's alleges that police are actively fuelling "an economy of murder".

More than 2,500 Filipinos have been killed in counter-drugs operations where the police have routinely claimed that they were fired upon first. But an officer with a decade of experience told Amnesty that the police are paid for each so-called "encounter".

"The amount ranges from 8,000 pesos [€150] to 15,000 pesos [€280]," he said. "We're paid in cash, secretly, by headquarters...there's no incentive for arresting. We're not paid anything."

Separately, two paid killers have alleged that they took orders from a police officer who pays them 5,000 pesos (€90) for each drug user killed and up to 15,000 (€280) for each "pusher".

"This is not a war on drugs, but a war on the poor. Often on the flimsiest of evidence, people accused of using or selling drugs are being killed for cash," said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International's crisis response director. (© Daily Telegraph London)

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