While Slaughter in the Philippines Continues, President Obama is Notably Silent

August 10, 2016

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte walks past honour guards before Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald Bato Dela Rosa's Assumption of Command Ceremony at the Camp Crame in Manila on July 1, 2016.  Authoritarian firebrand Rodrigo Duterte was sworn in as the Philippines' president on June 30, after promising a ruthless and deeply controversial war on crime would be the main focus of his six-year term. / AFP / NOEL CELIS        (Photo credit should read NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)
( NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)

By T. Kumar, International Advocacy Director, Amnesty International USA

Media reports indicate that in the Philippines number of people killed by the police could be as high as 400 to 800 in the last few weeks. These cold blooded murders are committed by the police and vigilantes by the active encouragement and support of the President Duterte and his “shoot to kill” directive.  In essence President Duterte has become the “Cheer Leader” for these killings.

The “License to kill” is given by the President in the name of “War on drugs”. This results in lawlessness, where anyone can become the executioner with the blessing of the government. President Duterte also mentioned the possibility of declaring “Martial Law” if the judiciary attempted to stop his campaign. 

While the slaughter of civilians is continuing in the Philippines, President Obama is notably silent despite a close relationship US is having for decades. The US also helps elevate the Philippines stature by making it a major non-NATO ally. It’s time for President Obama to take a firm stand against these killings and immediately urge President Duterte to stop this “Killing Spree.”

In addition, President Duterte’s tactic of open accusation of naming officials including judges, members of Congress, police and military officers of being involved in the drug trade, without providing sufficient evidence or due process to substantiate these allegations is deeply troubling.

It is time for President Obama to express his strong condemnation of this “Killing Spree.”  Will President Obama act?