MANILA - Policemen are paid as much as P15,000 for every drug suspect they kill, Amnesty International claimed Wednesday.
In its investigation, "If you are poor you are killed: Extrajudicial Executions in the Philippines' War on Drugs," AI cited an anti-narcotics officer who said that police units receive money for killing alleged drug offenders.
"There are different types of benefits [for these operations]. We always get paid by the encounter. That’s the word we use, ‘encounter.’ The amount ranges from P8,000 to P15,000... The ones we really go after are pushers," the unnamed cop was quoted as saying by AI.
"There are categories [of pushers]—different levels based on their notoriety. Higher levels are paid more. ... That amount is per head. So if the operation is against four people, that’s P32,000.
He added that the incentive is "paid in cash, secretly, by headquarters."
The same report -- which was based on 2-month long field research, testimonies 110 people, and documentation of 33 drug-related killings -- accused police of shooting dead defenseless people, fabricating evidence, paying assassins to murder drug addicts and stealing from those they killed or the victims' relatives.
Police may have committed crimes against humanity with these acts, the report said.
"Acting on orders from the very top, policemen and unknown killers have been targeting anybody remotely suspected of using or selling drugs," Rawya Rageh, a senior crisis adviser for AI, said.
"Our investigation shows that this wave of extrajudicial killings has been widespread, deliberate and systematic, and therefore may amount to crimes against humanity."
REOPEN PROBE ON EJKs
In a press conference, AI leaders urged the Senate to reopen its investigation of the extra-judicial killings amid President Duterte's war on drugs.
"The police are seen violating the required procedures in conducting operations. Even in the poorest households, they steal. They have no respect to the dignity of the poor people. They torture and have no respect to the dead. They profit even in the disposal of the body of the dead," said AI board of trustee, Sister Maria Vida Cordero.
"Even children are victims. Children are killed. Children are traumatized. Children who are already poor are even made poorer when left orphaned due to drug-related operations," she added.
Cordero appealed to Duterte: "Mr. President, please do governance with a heart."
Rachel Choa Howard of AI Southeast Asia also insisted that the government must hold EJK perpetrators responsible and give reparations to the victims.
AI-Philippines campaigner Wilnor Papa also railed against suggestions that the killings may be curbed by reimposing the death penalty.
"Huwag sanang sabihing death penalty o extra judicial killings dahil pareho po itong nakakadiri, walang espasyo sa isang sibilisadong bansa… Hanapin ang nagkakasala at udyukin na kasuhan," he said.
(Death penalty and extra-judicial killings are both revolting and have no place in a civilized country. Search for those who have sinned and push for cases against them.)
Duterte had until this week been unrepentant in response to criticism of his drug war and the police, insisting he was acting within the law but that extreme measures must be taken to stop the Philippines from becoming a narco state.
After a series of scandals emerged over the past month in which police were caught committing murder, kidnapping, extortion and robbery, Duterte this week ordered them to stop all activities related to the drug war.
He described the police force as "corrupt to the core" and vowed to cleanse it.
But he also vowed the drug war would continue until the last day of his term, in 2022.
He said police would return to the drug war after he reorganized the force and, in the meantime, the military would become more involved.
-- With reports from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News; Agence France-Presse