Cops rewarded for killing drug traffickers

A man caught with a plastic bag of solvent in Las Pinas, south of Manila, during an operation on Wednesday. Mr Duterte this week told security forces to immediately begin the war on crime.
A man caught with a plastic bag of solvent in Las Pinas, south of Manila, during an operation on Wednesday. Mr Duterte this week told security forces to immediately begin the war on crime.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MANILA • A Philippine politician said he had given more than US$3,000 (S$4,100) to police officers for killing drug traffickers, the first such rewards since President-elect Rodrigo Duterte promoted bounties for slain criminals.

Mr Duterte won last month's elections in a landslide after pledging to wipe out crime by killing tens of thousands of criminals, and this week said he would pay bounties to law enforcement officers for dead drug traffickers.

Mr Tomas Osmena, mayor-elect of Cebu, the nation's second-biggest city, offered similar rewards and announced on his Facebook page on Thursday night he had paid out 155,000 pesos (S$4,500) to police who killed three men he said were drug traffickers.

He posted a series of comments celebrating the deaths of the three men, as he lashed out at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), a constitutionally mandated body, for investigating the circumstances of the May 28 killings.

"CHR = Criminals. Have. Rights. (Even more than the real victims)," he wrote. He described one of the slain suspects, Rowen Secretaria, as one of Cebu's biggest drug dealers.

He did not return calls from Agence France-Presse requesting comment, and in a previous interview refused to disclose where the money for the bounties would come from.

Mr Osmena and Mr Duterte, like all winners in the national elections, will not take office until June 30. But Mr Duterte this week urged security forces to begin the war on crime immediately, calling on them to kill criminals.

He announced on Tuesday he would pay three million pesos to law enforcers for killing drug lords, with lesser amounts for lower-ranking people in drug syndicates.

Mr Duterte's law-and-order campaign pledges hypnotised millions of Filipinos hoping for quick solutions to the nation's deep-rooted problems of crime and corruption.

But human rights groups and other critics voiced alarm that a Duterte presidency would lead to extrajudicial killings and a general breakdown in the rule of law.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 04, 2016, with the headline 'Cops rewarded for killing drug traffickers'. Print Edition | Subscribe