Nearly 6,000 people have been killed in relation to President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs campaign in the Philippines since he came to power on June 30, reports said Tuesday, citing police records. The casualties reportedly include teenagers and even an anti-drug activist.
Duterte’s controversial war on drugs, criticized by several world leaders, including President Barack Obama and international organizations like the United Nations, was put in place to crack down rampant drug use in the country.
While Duterte put the number of drug addicts in the Philippines at an estimated three to four million, there were an estimated 1.8 million current drug users and at least 4.8 million people who said they used an illegal drug at some point in their lives, Filipino newspaper the Rappler reported.
The Rappler puts the number of people killed in relation to the anti-drug drive at 6,095 as of Dec. 14, 2016, including 3,993 extrajudicial killings.
According to Al Jazeera, on an average, 36 people were killed every day during the first 168 days of Duterte’s presidency. In the first four days of his presidency, 11 people were killed every day on an average.
Duterte was accused of violating human rights but the 71-year-old leader, referred to as the Trump of the East, dismissed the accusations calling them “stupid.”He recently admitted to personally killing criminals when he was mayor of the southern city of Davao, home to nearly 1.5 million people.
“In Davao I used to do it personally. Just to show to the guys [police officers] that if I can do it, why can’t you,” he reportedly said Wednesday. “And I’d go around in Davao with a motorcycle, with a big bike around, and I would just patrol the streets, looking for trouble also. I was really looking for a confrontation so I could kill.”
Two Philippine senators — Sen. Leila de Lima, Duterte’s most vocal critic, and Sen. Richard Gordon, head of the senate justice committee — said this latest admission from Duterte served as grounds for impeachment.
“That is betrayal of public trust and that constitutes high crimes because mass murders certainly fall into the category of high crimes. And high crimes is a ground for impeachment under the constitution,” de Lima reportedly said.
However, the former Mayor of Davao retained his “very good” opinion-poll rating six months since he took office despite the frequent attacks on world leaders and his anti-drug drive. Duterte had a net satisfaction rating of 63 percent, just shy of the 64 percent he registered in September.