Duterte pulls police off controversial drugs crackdown

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It is the second time Rodrigo Duterte has barred police from his controversial war on drugs

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has demoted the country’s police from leading his drugs war, amid growing criticism of the bloody crackdown.

The country’s Drugs Enforcement Agency will take charge of operations instead.

Police say they have killed over 3,850 people in anti-drugs operations since Mr Duterte took office last year.

In January, he also suspended police from the war on drugs, calling them “corrupt” – but reinstated them again shortly afterwards.

That suspension came after a South Korean businessman was kidnapped and killed by anti-drug police.

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Mr Duterte was elected last summer on a hardline platform promising to fight drugs, crime and corruption.

His policy of endorsing extrajudicial killings in the war against drugs has drawn widespread international condemnation and also led to criticism within the country.

In September, thousands attended rallies criticising his war on drugs – although thousands of others attended rival pro-Duterte rallies.

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Mr Duterte faces growing opposition over his policies

The most high-profile controversy this summer involved a boy killed in Caloocan on 16 August.

Police said the 17-year old ran from them and then opened fire, so they shot him. Yet his parents denied he had any involvement in drugs.

A witness said police tried to force a gun into his hand and CCTV footage shows a boy, said to be him, being dragged away by police, contradicting claims he ran.

As a consequence, the police said 1,200 officers from the capital Manila would be retrained and then assigned to other units.

While Mr Duterte still enjoys widespread support, a fresh poll this weekend showed trust and satisfaction in the president drop to the lowest levels since the start of his term.

Duterte pulls police off controversial drugs crackdown}

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