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5,000 Lives Have Been Claimed After Philippines Began War On Drugs

Kristita Padual, 29-year-old, from Philippines has been shot dead by two masked gunmen in March. The incident summed up the country’s war on drugs in one moment.

It’s been four months now but still her family didn’t know the reason why she was targeted. According to the police while investigating they found a small amount of meth on her body, though this has never been proven. Some people believed that she was shot after witnessing another killing further up the street. The shocking reality is that her parents will probably never know.

More than 5000 people have died last year in a bloody drugs crackdown that started with the election of Rodrigo Duterte, after he gave police officers licence to shoot drug pushers as they saw fit, and actively encouraged civilians to execute dealers and addicts living among them.

Kristita Padual, 29, died instantly after being shot in the heart by two masked gunmen as she ate dinner outside a nightclub near Manila, in the Philippines, on March 3

Nobody knows why Kristita was targeted, or who by. Police say she was found with a small amount of meth on her, meaning she could have been targeted in the country’s drug war, but this has not been proven

Moment before Kristita died another man was shot ten times and killed further up the street, and some believe she witnessed this killing and was shot dead to keep her quiet. The reality is that her loved ones will probably never know why she died

More than 5,000 people have been killed in drug related hits, and another 8,000 have died in unexplained crimes, since President Rodrigo Duterte was elected and gave police and vigilantes licence to kill as they see fit (pictured, the murder scene of Marvin Ocampo, who relatives say was a drug user)

Duterte has told police to shoot drug dealers on sight, and encouraged members of the public to execute known drug users and pushers living among them. His critics accuse him of unleashing death squads in what may constitute a crime against humanity (pictured, the body of an unknown man in Quezon city, north of Manila)

Despite the killings and the international condemnation they have brought, Duterte has ended his first year as President with a 75 per cent approval rating as people praised his no-nonsense leadership style (pictured, the body of Alvin Prada, who according to relatives was a drug user)

‘Hello Kitty’ decorations adorn the coffin of sixteen year old Nercy Galicio, who according to police was killed by unknown men

A view of a slum area at night where many killings have taken place, in Manila, Philippines, as the war on drugs continues 

The critics accused him of unleashing vigilante death squads who are killing with impunity and without justification in what may constitute a crime against humanity.

Right groups and leaders from around the world have blasted 72-year-old Duterte. Despite so much of criticism he has just ended his first 12 months in office with a 75 per cent satisfaction rating.

Not only that, he has also won the admiration of US President Donald Trump, who called to congratulate him on his efforts to fix the drug problem, while pledging to help tame unruly neighbour North Korea.

‘People like the man,’ Ricardo Abad, head of sociology and anthropology at Ateneo University in Manila, said.

‘People may disagree with his policies, or are maybe ambivalent towards them, but because they like him, people will tend to give him the benefit of the doubt.’

In his inauguration speech, Duterte typically sought not to sugarcoat his plans for the Philippines. ‘The ride will be rough. But come join me just the same,’ Duterte said.

The roughest part of the ride had for most of the past year been his crackdown on drugs. Police killed 3,116 drug suspects in that period, according to official figures.

According to the police records, unknown assailants killed another 2,098 in drug-related crimes, while there were 8,200 more murders with no known motive.

Rights groups and other critics warned Duterte may be orchestrating a crime against humanity, alleging he has unleashed corrupt police and vigilante death squads on a campaign of mass murder.

Duterte had made the drug war the top focus of his presidency until May 23, when gunmen rampaged through the southern city of Marawi flying black flags of the Islamic State group.

While Duterte’s approach has earned him condemnation from around the world, one supporter has been US President Donald Trump, who called to praise his efforts to tackle the Philippines’ drug problem shortly after he was elected

Relatives break down as they bury Leah Espiritu, who is believed to have been a drug dealer in the Philippines. Espiritu was killed by unknown assailants in the town of Caloocan, north of Manila

The coffin of Leah Espiritu is carried out for her burial. While Duterte has claimed that almost 4million people in the Philippines are drug addicts, his own drug analysis unit says the real number could be half that – and would not be much higher than the global average

Children cover their noses as funeral workers remove the body of an unknown shooting victim, which had gone unclaimed for months, to be buried in a mass grave. Corpses often go unclaimed in the Philippines, party because relatives fear being targeted themselves if they retrieve the corpse, and partly because of extortionate costs

Funeral workers kick the remains of an unknown person who was killed because of suspected links to the drug trade, into a narrow grave. Duterte has never sugarcoated his plans for the country, telling his followers: ‘The ride will be rough. But come join me just the same’

Funeral workers slot the coffin of 16-year-old Arjay Suldao into a small tomb in the town of Navotas after he went missing for days before being found dead. His dead is just one of 8,000 that remains unexplained in the last 12 months

Relatives weep near the scene where a man was shot dead by police following a police operation against illegal drugs in Caloocan, north of Manila

Across the southern third of the Philippines he immediately imposed martial law, home to roughly 20 million people, to quell what he said was an IS bid to establish a local caliphate.

But despite a relentless bombing campaign backed by the United States, Duterte’s military has been unable to dislodge the militants. The fighting has claimed more than 400 lives, according to the government, and it shows no signs of ending.

Another example of Duterte’s popularity is his ‘super majority’ in the lower house of congress, where there are just seven opposition members in the 296-member chamber.

Even one of the opposition lawmakers, Edcel Lagman, offered grudging praise this week.

‘Despite his unpresidential demeanour, profane language, abusive rhetoric and flawed policy statements, President Rodrigo Duterte, in his own inscrutable way, has held the nation together,’ he said.

But Lagman said, with Duterte’s promises of ‘change’ yet to become reality, his popularity had started to slide.
If that is happening, Duterte’s ‘super majority’ could fall apart.

In the Philippines, lawmakers from parties across the political spectrum typically flock to a popular president in the early stages of his or her term.

But the politicians, driven by self-interest rather than ideology, have also in the past quickly jumped off the bandwagon when approval ratings dropped.

Photo: Dailymail

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