Bulacan is drug war's 'bloodiest killing field — Amnesty International report

Relatives hold a memorial for their slain loved ones in a church in Manila

"President Duterte's "war on drugs" continues to be nothing but a large-scale murdering enterprise for which the poor continue to pay the highest price", Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International regional director for East and Southeast Asia, said in a statement.

London-based Amnesty International urged the United Nations Human Rights Council to approve a resolution calling for an investigation into the Philippines, where there was a "perilous normalisation" of illegal executions and police abuses.

These lists, described by Amnesty worldwide as "unreliable" and "illegitimate" are central to the police's operations and they help police decide who to target for arrest or even to kill.

The names of those targets are supplied by local officials who are "under enormous pressure" from police to provide a steady stream of suspects, it said.

The Philippines government is accused of "committing crimes against humanity" with its so-called "war on drugs", which Manila sees the sole way to get rid of the devastating situation of drag trafficking in the country.

The group's appeal echoed a draft resolution proposed by Iceland at the UN rights council and backed mainly by Western nations.

Duterte's spokesman, Salvador Panelo, said Amnesty's basis for calling for an worldwide investigation was wrong, and there were no such illegal killings. "We have a battery of human rights activists in this country", he said. Amnesty said the press has lost interest in the killings while the government fails to investigate or provide adequate treatment programs for drug users.

"It is incorrigible on their part to make that call".

"The fact remains that the basis for their call (of investigation on war on drugs) is factually wrong". "The problem is this Amnesty International is politicizing the so-called extra judicial killings in this country".

"There is bias, there is prejudice". Duterte's former top cop was criticized later for comments about the girl's killing, in which he said "shit happens during operations".

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"Families spoke to us about their desperation in terms of their inability to obtain justice for loved ones, enormous obstacles to filing cases, extreme difficulty in obtaining police autopsy reports and a pervasive climate of fear of reprisals and retaliation if they did try to probe further", she said.

But if no one would testify against them, the narcs should be presumed to have acted with regularity, Guevarra said.

Duterte and the police have denied any authorization of extrajudicial killings.

Gen. Oscar Albayalde, the PNP chief, gave assurance that while the campaign against narcotics had been relentless, it stayed "within the bounds of the law".

The exact number of dead in President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs is impossible to independently verify, but many thousands have been killed, about 6,600 of those during operations in which police said suspects were armed and fought back.

Other human rights groups have put the toll from the Philippines campaign at more than 27,000 - with some involving undercover officers or contract killers.

Panelo, however, maintained the government's claim that the suspects resisted arrest and that the policemen just defended themselves.

An eyewitness account quoted in the report said the "buy-bust" narrative abetted the police planting drug-related evidence against people.

"They should have filed a case against the policemen and we would have welcomed it".

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