Police in Philippines Use Hospitals to Cover Up Killings

Reuters news agency reports today that thousands of people have been killed since President Rodrigo Duterte took office on June 30 last year in the Philippines and declared war on what he called “the drug menace.” The Reuters’ analysis of crime data from two of Metro Manila’s five police districts and interviews with doctors, law enforcement officials and victims’ families point to one answer: Police were sending corpses to hospitals to destroy evidence at crime scenes and hide the fact that they were executing drug suspects. The data also shows a sharp increase in the number of drug suspects declared dead on arrival in these two districts each month. There were 10 cases at the start of the drug war in July 2016, representing 13 percent of police drug shooting deaths. By January 2017, the tally had risen to 51 cases or 85 percent. The totals grew along with international and domestic condemnation of Duterte’s campaign.

A police commander in Manila speaking on condition of anonymity said the increase was no coincidence. He said in late 2016, police began sending victims to hospitals to avoid crime scene investigations and media attention that might show they were executing drug suspects. A Reuters investigation last year found that when police opened fire in drug operations, they killed 97 percent of people they shot. Doctors told Reuters they were troubled by the rising number of police-related DOAs (dead on arrivals). They said many drug suspects brought to hospital had been shot in the head and heart, sometimes at close range – precise and unsurvivable wounds that undermined police claims that suspects were injured during chaotic exchanges of gunfire.

Reuters report found here.

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