war on drugs

No let-up in Duterte’s drug war in 2021

Jodesz Gavilan

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No let-up in Duterte’s drug war in 2021

Graphics by Nico Villarete

Rappler's 2021 coverage of the war on drugs shows how justice remains elusive for victims and their families, contrary to what the government claims

MANILA, Philippines – There has been no let-up in President Rodrigo Duterte’s violent anti-illegal drugs campaign in 2021.

As of October 31, government data shows that 6,215 people have been killed in police anti-illegal drug operations alone, while human rights groups estimate the number to reach 30,000 to include those killed by vigilantes.

In September, the pre-trial chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) green-lit a formal investigation into Duterte’s drug war, saying that it was apparent that killings “took place pursuant to or in furtherance of a state policy.”

The Duterte government, despite insisting that the ICC had no jurisdiction over the Philippines, actually requested a deferral of the probe. As a matter of procedure, ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan temporarily paused his investigation, but asked the Philippine government to prove it was genuinely investigating the war on drugs.

Rappler’s 2021 coverage of the war on drugs shows how justice remains elusive for victims and their families, contrary to what the government wants to show.

The war on drugs didn’t stop even as the Department of Justice’s interagency review panel found lapses in protocols during police operations. No cases have been filed by the review panel against erring policemen. Many criticize the panel for being just a tool of the Duterte government to shield itself from international bodies like the United Nations and the ICC.

There remains no significant update to pending petitions before the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of the war on drugs. In fact, a Rappler investigative series found that incomplete drug war documents submitted by the Duterte government stalled the case, aside from proving that Duterte’s flagship project was poorly documented.

You can read the complete series here:

The year 2022 will be a significant year for the fight for justice. As Duterte’s term ends, the next administration will make or break the fate of the widespread culture of impunity in the Philippines.

What will happen now? – Rappler.com

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Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and impunity beats, producing in-depth and investigative reports particularly on the quest for justice of victims of former president Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs and war on dissent.