The death count by the Philippine police in the name of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs makes the United States’ numbers seem like a grain of rice. Government officials claim that over 5,000 drug dealers, which they claim all fought police, have been killed, while activists say that it’s actually at least 27,000. The rate of extrajudicial killings has become so awful that dozens of countries have called on the United Nations to investigate.
President Duterte won in 2016 on a platform of practically eliminating crime and has continued to draw controversy for his cruel and explicit comments. As Mayor of Davao, he earned the nickname “The Punisher” and was accused by human rights groups of allowing death squads to murder hundreds of alleged criminals. His election rivals warned that he would bring nothing but more death and terror to the Philippines, a prophecy that appears to have come true.