MANILA — A forensic pathologist has found that more victims of former President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war had falsified death certificates.
Dr. Raquel Fortun has so far examined the exhumed remains of 74 people killed in the bloody crackdown.
"Last year April, I only had 7 in my collection and we actually found 4 more. So, I now have 11," she told ANC's "Rundown" Friday.
"For the 74 cases, the total now is 11 cases where the death certificates were certified as natural cause but the victims died from gunshot wounds," she added.
This comes as Fortun noted an incomplete examination on the body of 17-year-old Kian Delos Santos, who was killed by police in an alleged anti-drug operation in August 2017.
She noted that the corpse was superficially cut and was not opened, in contrast with what is normally done during autopsies.
Other autopsy procedures that Fortun found unusual included the arbitrary insertion of a metal stick to the gunshot wounds and incorrect measurement of the trajectory of the bullet.
Fortun also found a bullet fragment in the neck vertebrae area of Delos Santos' remains, which authorities might have missed.
"This is not the only case where I've seen something like this where the actual examination was falsified," she lamented. "So, you got findings written on a report and signed by several people but they're not true."
Three Caloocan policemen in 2018 were found guilty of murdering the teenager.
"It makes you think what kind of judicial system do we have... Was it a token conviction? Was it understood that some of the accused will be convicted? This is to display the Philippine criminal justice system is at work," Fortun said.
More than 6,200 people died in Duterte's anti-drug campaign, according to official figures. Rights groups estimate the true figure was in the tens of thousands.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who succeeded Duterte in June, has pledged to continue the drug war but with an emphasis on prevention and rehabilitation.
Yet the bodies keep piling up.
Rights groups estimate at least 150 people have been killed since Marcos took office. Police recently put the figure at 46.
— With a report from Agence France-Presse