PDEA: Over 5,000 drug suspects killed, more than 9,000 high-value targets arrested

The data from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) showed more than 9,000 high-value targets were arrested while over 5,000 drug suspects were killed in the Duterte administration’s war against illegal drugs.

The recent data also showed law enforcement units conducted a total of 168,525 anti-illegal drug operations from July 1, 2016, to May 31, 2020.

PDEA said that from those operations, 245,135 drug suspects were arrested, including 9,350 high-value targets. The agency also noted that 5,722 suspected drug personalities were killed in those operations.

Of the arrested drug suspects, 376 were employees, 320 were elected officials, and 90 were uniformed personnel, according to PDEA.

The data also showed that a total of 18,582 barangays had been cleared from illegal drugs. PDEA said there are still 15, 388 barangays that are yet to be cleared by law enforcement agencies.

It also said 560 dens and clandestine laboratories had raided. The total value of shabu seized was P34.18 billion.

The President’s war on drugs was highly-criticized not just by groups in the Philippines, but also international organizations, as the alleged violent campaign has been linked to alleged extrajudicial killings.

World Organization against Torture (OMCT) and the Children’s Legal Rights and Development Center earlier reported at least 129 children were killed in the Philippines’ four-year war on drugs. Still, the figures could only be a fraction of the actual numbers.

The report entitled “How could they do this to my child?” said most of the victims were minors and were tagged as “collateral damage.”

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The group called on Human Rights Council to launch an independent commission of inquiry into extrajudicial killings and other crimes at its three-week session opening on today, June 30.

The figures are just “The tip of the iceberg because it is only those cases that we were able to document and verify, there may be many more in the country,” said Gerald Staberock, OMCT secretary-general.

Last month, the UN Human Rights Office released a report on the “widespread violations and persistent impunity” in the Philippines under the Duterte administration.

“A heavy-handed focus on countering national threats and illegal drugs has resulted in serious violations in the Philippines, including killings and arbitrary detentions, as well as the vilification of dissent,” the report said.