war on drugs

Fortun probe: Doctors ‘doctored’ Duterte drug war death certificates

Rambo Talabong
Fortun probe: Doctors ‘doctored’ Duterte drug war death certificates

EXPERT PROBE. Raquel Fortun presenting her initial findings in Manila.

Rambo Talabong/Rappler

'You have doctors staking their reputation, their name, their license falsifying death certificates,' says forensic expert Raquel Fortun
Fortun probe: Doctors ‘doctored’ Duterte drug war death certificates

MANILA, Philippines – Doctors “doctored” or falsified death certificates in Duterte’s drug war, forensic expert Raquel Fortun said on Tuesday, April 12, as she presented initial findings on her probe into exhumed remains of drug war victims.

In examining 46 remains of victims who were killed in 2016 in Metro Manila, Fortun found that at least seven were declared to have died of natural causes but were actually shot dead.

The recorded causes of death ranged from pneumonia to sepsis to acute myocardial infarction.

Fortun probe: Doctors ‘doctored’ Duterte drug war death certificates

Fortun discovered this after looking at the death certificates and then looking at the remains, where she found bullet holes.

“You have doctors staking their reputation, their name, their license falsifying death certificates,” Fortun said in the briefing.

This is because the cause of death listed on any death certificate is signed on by a doctor. Fortun has not named any of the doctors in the seven cases that she examined and found to have wrong causes of death listed.

Fortun probe: Doctors ‘doctored’ Duterte drug war death certificates

This is the first major revelation in the Fortun probe, which is the first forensics-focused probe into Duterte’s drug war. Local investigating bodies, such as the Commission on Human Rights have not been given records by the police, while international investigators have been barred by President Rodrigo Duterte from conducting their own independent probes. – Rappler.com

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.