Children slain in Philippine war on drugs

Amnesty International Calls on ICC to Investigate Philippines 'Crimes Against Humanity'

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr., in a chance interview with Palace reporters, said this developed during the President's command conference with the police and military held in Malacañang earlier Tuesday.

According to AI, as much as 60 children have been killed in anti-drug operations since Duterte took power, adding that family members claim they witnessed cops shooting children "begging for mercy" at point-blank range.

"There has been a notable resurgence in illegal drug activities and crimes committed", Roque said as he read the order signed by Duterte.

In ordering the PNP and other law enforcement agencies to rejoin anew in the war against illegal drugs, the President noted that while PDEA has made significant strides in the government's anti-illegal campaign, the agency "has been seriously hampered in performing its huge mandate by lack of resources, specifically agents, and operatives who can penetrate drug-infested areas down to the municipal and barangay levels".

The lawyer asked the criminal court to sentence Duterte and 11 other officials, including the Secretary of Justice Vitaliano Aguirre II and Director General of the Philippine National Police Ronald dela Rosa to life in prison. Between 4,000 and 7,000 people have been killed in the 18-month crackdown, drawing criticism from human rights groups, who have accused police of carrying out extra-judicial killings.

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But while PNP and other law enforcement agencies will provide active support in the government's campaign against illegal drugs, PDEA shall continue to be the overall lead agency in the drug war.

However Duterte also repeatedly said he believed the anti-drug agency, with only about 2,000 officers, would not be able to effectively prosecute the crackdown.

The Duterte Administration's war on drugs used to be placed at the hands of the PNP before it was handed over to PDEA. The first suspension took place in January when it was revealed that officers in the anti-drug campaign had murdered a South Korean businessman inside national police headquarters.

Duterte and other high-level officials could be held liable under worldwide law for "openly advocating" for killings, AI also said. But he reinstated the police soon afterwards without making major reforms to address the graft issue.

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