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President Duterte’s War on Drugs May Face Stoppage with Officer Dela Rosa’s Plans to Clean up the Police Department

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Brian Demo ’17

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Filipino President, Rodrigo Duterte, using a gesture during a response at the Malacanang palace in Manila on January 30, 2017.

Filipino President, Rodrigo Duterte, using a gesture during a response at the Malacanang palace in Manila on January 30, 2017.

Noel Celis—AFP/Getty Images

Noel Celis—AFP/Getty Images

Filipino President, Rodrigo Duterte, using a gesture during a response at the Malacanang palace in Manila on January 30, 2017.

The Philippines’ top police officer, Ronald dela Rosa, planned to suspend the nation’s drug war to crack down on corrupt members of the department.  Yet, shortly before, President Rodrigo Duterte said that the crackdown will continue until “the last day” of his term.

Violence and controversy persists as law enforcement units mobilized throughout cities and settlements to win their war on drugs – a topic that serves as a major pillar to Mr. Duterte’s agenda.  The death toll rises rapidly.  According to reports, the number sits close to 6,000 people.  However, the estimation remains rough, with additional hundreds or a thousands deaths that may have occurred as well.  Accusations regarding police corruption and impairment of duty surface in result.

Mr. Dela Rosa stated on Monday that he seeks to order the dissolution of the anti-drug units.  The decision arrived not long after a South Korean businessman named Jee Ick-Joo died from strangulation – an act committed by officers who later extorted money after deceiving the victim’s family about his passing.

Human rights organizations offered the criticism on the events and continually operate with suspicion.  In a recently published statement, Human Rights Watch called Duterte’s implemented policy a “profound setback” in ethicality, where killings occur with “few details known” and “no efforts” made with regard to “accountability.”  Amnesty International expressed concern over potential ongoing violence, in which they said, “These contradictory statements offer little hope that the wave of extrajudicial executions that has claimed more than a thousand lives a month will end.”

Mr. Duterte campaigned under the notion that he planned to operate strongly, and almost ruthlessly, against crime.  However, accusations ensue and political pressures rise.  The president indicated his distaste for the policemen that manipulated Ick-Joo’s family for money.  If and once the war on drugs comes to a halt to weed out police corruption, Mr. Duterte hopes to return to his election promise.

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President Duterte’s War on Drugs May Face Stoppage with Officer Dela Rosa’s Plans to Clean up the Police Department