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Philippines senator calls for investigation into alleged kill bounties

[JURIST] Philippine Senator Sherwin Gatchalian called for an investigation Wednesday into allegations made by senior officials in the Philippine National Police that officers have been offered cash rewards to execute individuals who are suspected of illegal drug activity. More than 9,000 people have died since President Duterte took office last June and the two anonymous officials claim [Reuters report] that more than a third of those deaths can be traced to police-sanctioned assassins and vigilantes. The report goes on to detail allegations that the Philippine National Police has planted evidence at crime scenes and even that police are paid to kill not just drug suspects, but also rapists, pickpockets, swindlers, gang members, alcoholics and other "troublemakers."

Thousands of people have been killed in the past year since Duterte took office and began his controversial war on drugs. Numerous rights groups have been critical of the killings and have spoken out against the current administration. In March, President Duterte said he would not be intimidated by a potential criminal trial [JURIST report] at the hands of the International Criminal Court due to his handling of the drug war and vowed that the police would continue as they have. Earlier that month, the Human Rights Watch released a report that accused the police of falsifying evidence [JURIST report] in relation to the alleged police killings of citizens. A policy of sanctioned killings has been a routine part of Duterte's rhetoric since is time serving as mayor of Davao. In December 2016 the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called for a murder investigation [JURIST report] after Duterte admitted to killing people in his role as mayor. Duterte has seemed skeptical of the ICC before, in November he suggested that the Philippines might leave [JURIST report] the international body.

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