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Kuwento

Killing poor people, then robbing their families

/ 03:08 AM February 07, 2017

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One feature of the Duterte bloodbath hasn’t received as much attention as other stunning revelations in the Amnesty International report on the campaign.

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Poor Filipinos aren’t just getting slaughtered in what the respected human rights organization calls a “murderous war on the poor.” They’re also being robbed and swindled by the thugs who are waging it.

The Duterte bloodbath, which has claimed more than 6,000 lives, “may amount to crimes against humanity,” Amnesty International said. The organization’s report highlights the campaign’s mind-boggling cruelty.

“A largely bedridden grandmother in Metro Manila watched as police officers stormed into the family’s house and killed her grandson, who was on the ‘drug watch list,’” the report said. “They proceeded to search the house. ‘There was a lot of money placed here,’ she said several months later, pointing to a particular bench. ‘The police pocketed the money.’”

Then there’s the case of a 30-year-old woman whose husband was killed by police who she said stole thousands of pesos in cash and goods from her family. “When she saw her husband’s body at the morgue, she said she realized his wedding ring and necklace were also missing,” the report said.

One police MO could be summarized in Pilipino as, “Pinatay na nga, kinuwartahan pa.”

Imagine this: Police barge into your home in an urban poor community in Manila, and gun down a family member suspected of being a drug dealer or an addict.

That’s a tragedy that would devastate any family. But it doesn’t end there: You then find out you also have to pay exorbitant prices for funeral services — from which the killers also make a profit.

The report said in some areas of Metro Manila “police investigators appear to be running a racket with funeral homes, forcing families to spend money they can ill afford to in order to claim the body.”

Amnesty International cited the case of Florjohn Cruz who was killed in a drug operation in October. His mother and estranged wife had to pay a funeral home a down payment of 10,000 pesos, the report said. The funeral home gave them two hours to raise the needed funds.

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The family of Crisostomo Diaz was told to “go house to house to ask for help” in raising the 35,000 pesos need for his funeral services, the report said.

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Women grieving over body of an EJK victim. INQUIRER FILE

“Many families of victims interviewed by Amnesty International complained that the body was taken to a particularly expensive funeral home; they often did not understand why, as other funeral homes were closer to where the person was killed,” the report added.

Why?

An explanation comes from a police officer from a Metro Manila anti-illegal drugs unit.

“The police get a cut from funeral homes for every body they bring,” he told Amnesty International. “Sometimes 10,000 pesos. … Sometimes if I’m the investigator, I’ll bring the body to the biggest and most expensive [funeral home], because they give the biggest cuts.”

In other words, the Duterte bloodbath isn’t just a “murderous war on the poor,” as Amnesty International calls it. For the thugs who are carrying out this sinister campaign, it’s also a very lucrative enterprise.

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TAGS: Amnesty International report on extrajudicial killings, Duterte drug war, Duterte drug war victims, opinion, police thieves, robbing the poor
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