Philippines researcher for Human Rights Watch, Carlos Conde, took a swipe at President Rodrigo Duterte’s authoritarian tendencies.
“So you have this climate of intimidation, harassment, fear — not just against activists, but also against people who dare speak out.”
Conde believes the takedown of news site CEO Maria Ressa, Senator Leila de Lima and Chief Justice Sereno in the Philippines has serious consequences.
A recent Washington Post story titled “This is Manila” alleges extrajudicial killings in Manila continue – with another dead body found floating on Pasig River, the third in a month.
Human rights watch asserts such killings are either directly or tacitly sanctioned by the Philippines crackdown on drug use.
Real numbers PH show: 5,176 drug personalities have been killed in anti-drug operations since July 1, 2016.
But HRW says this number does not include the nearly 23,000 others killed by unidentified gunmen, classified as “homicides under investigation,” according to PnP.
In an emailed statement to ABS-CBN News, the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC said: “the article paints a picture not of Manila, but of a hasty generalization that has no foundation in reality.”
HRW believes that with press freedom under apparent attack and a government without checks and balances – this climate of fear is expected to continue in the Philippines.