Drug War Sparking Death Squad Killings Again in Philippines

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by RMJL, Sep 28, 2003.

  1. Newsbrief: Drug War Sparking Death Squad Killings Again in Philippines 9/26/03
    Flagellated by a sensationalist press and egged-on by publicity-seeking politicians, the Philippines is deep in the depths of another round of drug war madness, and the death toll is mounting -- again. Just a few years ago, Davao City was the scene of vigilante-style executions of hundreds of suspected drug dealers, and now, according to the General Santos Sunstar, the anti-drug death squads are showing up in General Santos City.

    As usual, the authorities pronounce themselves mystified by the killings -- all of people on police watch lists of suspected dealers or users -- or suggest that the drug dealers are killing each other. But local residents told the paper they believed the killings were the work of Davao-style death squads.

    More than 120 people have been killed in what police call "drug related summary executions" in General Santos City since November 2001. That's according to Efren Alcuizar, chief of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency for Central Mindanao. All of them were on anti-drug watch lists, he said. But PDEA had nothing to do with it, he was quick to add. The latest victims, two young men in their twenties, were gunned down by hooded, motorcycle-riding vigilantes on September 13 and 14, the newspaper reported.

    Local businessmen could be paying the killers, Alcuizar suggested, citing the May 2002 case of two would-be assassins captured by police who said they were being paid by business interests to kill drug dealers. Those two later were killed "reportedly attempting to escape," the paper noted. Mayor Pedro Acharon Jr., however, denied the existence of anti-drug vigilante groups in the city. Instead, he suggested, the killings are the result of drug deals gone bad or disputes over profits.


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