An international human rights group has released a report stating that police officers were paid under the table for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte drug war killings. Amnesty International published the report on Tuesday. Under the drug war in the Philippines, the police officers gunned down “drug users” based on the list of offenders named by the government.

“This is not a war on drugs, but a war on the poor,” Amnesty’s Crisis Response Director Tirana Hassan said in a press release. “Often on the flimsiest of evidence, people accused of using or selling drugs are being killed for cash in an economy of murder.”

The report has come after Rodrigo Duterte suspended the killings of the drug dealers across the nation on Sunday. Amnesty International has accused Philippine police of having the extrajudicial killings systematically planned. It said that the officers accepted cash payments for killing suspected drug users and dealers.

Rodrigo Duterte suspended the war against drugs following a revelation that claimed anti-drug officers kidnapped and killed Jee Ick-joo, a South Korean businessman. There has been no reaction from the government on the report released by the human rights group. However, the officers across the Philippines have argued that the drug war killings occurred as suspects were resisting arrest.

Amnesty International Argues on Rodrigo Duterte Drug War Killings

Amnesty International did not agree to the argument of the officers and depicted a different tale based on its independent investigation on the matter. “Police officers routinely bust down doors in the middle of the night and then kill in cold blood unarmed people suspected of using or selling drugs,” the report stated. “In several cases documented by Amnesty International, witnesses described alleged drug offenders yelling they would surrender, at times while on their knees or in another compliant position. They were still gunned down.”

Rodrigo Duterte declared an open war against drug dealers immediately after he took charge of the Philippines in 2016. This initiative claimed the lives of over 7,000 individuals across the nation. The drug war killings took lives of even those who were only suspected of using drugs and might not have been confirmed drug dealers.

Amnesty International interviewed 110 people across the nation, including witnesses, victims’ relatives, police officers and others in connection with the drug war. It also examined around 33 cases connected with 59 deaths due to drug war. After going through the results, the human rights group established that drugs were not only the source of corruption in the war against drugs.

“Under President Duterte’s rule, the national police are breaking laws they are supposed to uphold while profiting from the murder of impoverished people the government was supposed to uplift,” Hassan said. “The same streets Duterte vowed to rid of crime are now filled with bodies of people illegally killed by his own police.”

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