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  • Ronald Dela Rosa served as the Philippines Chief of Police until June 30 when he assumed office as Senator.

    Ronald Dela Rosa served as the Philippines Chief of Police until June 30 when he assumed office as Senator. | Photo: Reuters

Published 8 July 2019

According to the Philippine drug enforcement agency (PDEA), between July 2016 and 2019, 6,600 people have died, mostly at the hands of the police.

Former Philippine Police Chief and current Senator Ronald Dela Rosa said that  “sh*t happens” defending the killing of a three-year-old who was shot dead in a province near Manila last week during a police anti-drug related operation.

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“We live in an imperfect world,” the former enforcer of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs said, adding that “would a police officer want to shoot a child? Never, because they have children as well. But shit happens during operations.”

Also known as Bato, the now-retired police officer assumed office as a state Senator on June 30, after that he was handpicked in 2016 by Duterte to lead his violent crackdown on drug users and pushers in the Asian country. 

According to the Philippine drug enforcement agency (PDEA), between July 2016 and 2019, 6,600 people have died, mostly at the hands of the police,  in the government's campaign against often targeted poor drug users and small-time dealers.

However human rights advocates, including the United Nations, estimate the real figure is much higher than the official numbers, ranging between 15,000 to 27,000. Human Rights Watch research has found that police falsify evidence to justify unlawful killings, despite growing calls for an investigation, Duterte has continued his hard stance.  

On March 17, the Philippines’ government announced it had officially withdrawn from the International Criminal Court (ICC) a year after notifying the U.N.  its resolution to leave. The decision came as the international body, led by ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, launched an examination in 2018 into possible crimes against humanity.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Iceland filed a draft resolution asking the U.N. Human Rights Council to address “a staggering number of unlawful deaths and police killings.” 

A vote on the draft resolution is expected before the 41st session ends on July 12. Duterte’s administration  called it an “outrageous interference” by “foreign propagandists.”

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