The poor neighborhoods of the capital of the Philippines, the main targets of the murderous “war on drugs” of the incumbent president, Rodrigo Duterte, supported the candidacy of “Bongbong” Marcos in the elections of May 9.
It is a strip of land between the street and the train tracks, in the center of Manila. Fourteen members of the same family live there, in several rectangular rooms, made of plywood boards and canvas stretched between tubes. From the tragedy almost six years ago, on September 20, 2016, when the 37-year-old son was killed in the middle of the night by plainclothes police in the cabin that served as a store, they remained suspicious, and fear: “No names or they’ll come back to find us,” they ask.
The son rented game consoles to the kids. He was an occasional drug user, called here shabu (methamphetamine). “Not a dealer, specifies the father, 74 years old, green polo shirt, silver chain. They came in and shot him. That night, according to the family, the streetlights were out, and none of the security cameras in the barangay, the country’s smallest neighborhood-wide administrative subdivision, were working. And then, he was not initially on the “list of suspects” kept by each barangay during the “war on drugs”, proclaimed by President Rodrigo Duterte when he took office in June 2016. put in it after his death,” says the father.
The Philippine government officially acknowledges a total of 6,117 deaths that occurred during police operations, most often suspected cases of nanlaban , an “armed fight” with the suspect. At least three times as many victims, including those of extrajudicial executions by unknown persons, are mentioned by NGOs and the International Criminal Court (ICC), whose prosecutor then in office, Fatou Bensouda, authorized the opening of an investigation, in June 2021, despite the country’s withdrawal from the body in 2019.
That night in September 2016, in this slum in the district of Sampaloc, one of the many that line Algeciras Street, the police blew a grenade into a tire, to justify their alleged defensive response, the family said.
“Maybe with Marcos we will get justice”
The parents had left Manila nine years earlier for the province of Laguna, southeast of the capital. The son sent them money. Since his death, they have returned to occupy this land belonging to the public railway company. “We don’t expect anything. There was never an investigation. We never filed a complaint. And this is not the time, ”breathes the sister of the deceased.
Because “Bongbong” Marcos, known as “BBM”, given the winner of the May 9 election and son of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos (1965-1986), was elected by teaming up with the daughter of the outgoing president, Sara Duterte, as vice-president. The official results, disputed because of malfunctioning vote-counting machines, are expected at the end of May. “Bongbong” Marcos had already warned in January that if he ever allowed ICC investigators to come to the Philippines, it would be “as tourists”. The ICC investigation has, in fact, been suspended “temporarily” , as of November 2021, as Manila argues that its own justice has opened proceedings.