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  • President Rodrigo Duterte initiated his controversial anti-narcotics campaign began in June 2016.

    President Rodrigo Duterte initiated his controversial anti-narcotics campaign began in June 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 December 2018

Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte rejects the Church's harsh criticism of the administration's violent war on drugs.

Filipino Bishops are “useless fools” and should be “killed,”  President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday from the Malacañang Palace in Manila.

The Church has staunchly opposed the president’s war on drugs and denounced the violence against priests conducted in impunity earlier this year.

“These bitches serve no purpose. All they do is criticize,” Duterte said, referring to the Catholic church’s opposition to the president’s deadly war on drugs.

Since Duterte’s controversial anti-narcotics campaign began in June 2016, police have killed more than 4,500 people they say were suspected drug pushers who resisted arrest.

Human rights groups are alarmed by the bloodshed and say thousands have been summarily executed in what amounts to a systematic extermination of drug users in the poorest communities. Police vigorously rejected the allegations. They also deny activist allegations that they have falsified reports, staged crime scenes and systematically murdered small-time peddlers and users.

Duterte says the militia has only killed in self-defense, denying the numerous accusations of murder and crimes against humanity.

A poorly timed joke during a meeting Monday triggered harsh criticism from human rights organizations. Duterte joked he used illegal marijuana to stay awake during last month’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Singapore.

Carlos Conde,  a Philippines researcher with the New York-based Human Rights Watch, told Reuters it was regardless if the president meant it or not, it will undoubtedly disturb the families victimized by his narcotics crackdown.

“This will definitely anger the families even more. There is a disconnect between what the president admitted to do and what the president said he will do to those who use drugs,” Conde said.


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