Philippine mayor surrenders as Duterte continues anti-drug push

A Philippine town mayor on Tuesday surrendered to police over alleged drug trafficking after President Rodrigo Duterte warned he could get killed if he resisted arrest.

The son of Mayor Rolando Espinosa, however, remained at large, according to presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella.

Espinosa turned himself in to police after Duterte demanded he and his son surrender within 24 hours on Monday.

Espinosa's staff were arrested earlier during a buy-bust operation where officers seized 1.9 million pesos (42,000 dollars) worth of methamphetamine, locally called shabu.

Duterte’s anti-drug campaign has already resulted in the killing of 465 suspects between June 30, when the 71-year-old president took office, and August 1, according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

One photo of a woman cradling her dead partner has gone viral in the Philippines, highlighting the brutality of the recent campaign. But Duterte has criticized the photo for being melodramatic, and questioned whether the picture was posed.

Between January 1 and June 15, 68 suspects were killed in anti-drugs operations, according to the Philippine national police.

The Human Rights Watch organization has urged the International Narcotics Control Board and the UN to remind Duterte that "the surge in killings of suspected drug dealers and users is not acceptable 'crime control,'" said Phelim Kine, its deputy Asia director, in a statement.

"President Duterte should understand that passive or active government complicity with those killings would contradict his pledge to respect human rights and uphold the rule of law," he added.

Last update: Tue, 02/08/2016 - 11:08
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