METH AND MURDER: THE VIOLENT SUCCESS OF DUTERTE’S WAR ON DRUGS
by Yongjun Lee
Abstract – Since his election in 2016, President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte has pursued violent anti-narcotic police operations, resulting in the deaths of more than 27,000 suspected drug users and dealers. Police forces have worked to conceal the bloody consequences by hiring paid killers and deliberately planting false evidence. Duterte publicly promotes his “war on drugs” as a success of his presidency, but his actions have drawn condemnation from international human rights organizations who have accused him of crimes against humanity. However, Duterte’s supporters argue that the crackdown is necessary to combat rampant drug-related crime in the Philippines, with 82% of Filipinos satisfied with the war on drugs due to “a perception of less drugs and crime in the country”. Political opponents and investigative journalists claim that Duterte’s war on drugs constitutes a systematic policy of brutality and repression; supporters see it as an effective anticrime measure. This paper will examine the current state of the Filipino anti-drug effort and outline how the policy’s inherent violence may or may not be justified.