The chief of police in the Philippines told a group of drug users to kill dealers and burn their homes in a speech similar to one given by the country’s president Rodrigo Duterte on the day he took office in June.
On that day, Duterte entered a Manila slum and told residents to “go ahead and kill (drug users) yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful.”
Since then, nearly 2,000 suspected drug pushers and users have been killed in the Philippines. Police have blamed drug dealers resisting arrest or gang feuds for the high number, according to the Associated Press.
Philippines chief Ronald dela Rosa is leading Duterte’s crusade against drugs. He met with a group of about 1,300 drug users and pushers who had voluntarily surrendered to the police in Bacolod City Thursday and told them it was OK to kill the dealers.
“You can kill them because you are the victims. Go to them, pour gasoline on their houses and burn it down. Show them your anger,” dela Rosa said.
He told the crowd the dealers were getting wealthy while they were the victims.
“These people have long been getting rich. What about you? Your brains are getting small and melting,” dela Rosa added.
Before being elected, Duterte promised to wipe out drugs and told drug dealers they would need to clean up their act or they could be killed.
Since Duterte was elected, his polling numbers have gone through the roof as a recent poll has seen his support climb to 91 per cent.
Phelim Kine, Human Rights Watch’s deputy Asia director, said Duterte “is steamrolling the rule of law and its advocates both at home and abroad.” The killings suggest his aggressive rhetoric advocating extrajudicial solutions to criminality has found a receptive audience, Kine said.
*With files from wire services