32 killed in bloody night for Duterte’s war on drugs

Updated 11:58 PM EDT, Wed August 16, 2017

Story highlights

Police report dozens of drug deaths in province north of Manila

Thousands have been killed in drug operations since President Duterte came to office

(CNN) —  

Thirty-two suspected drug dealers were killed in shootouts across one province in the Philippines on Tuesday, police said, in a bloody 24 hours for the country’s war on drugs.

Police conducted 66 “buy-bust” operations, in which undercover police attempt to buy illegal drugs from suspected dealers, in the province of Bulacan, just north of the capital, Manila, Romeo Caramat Jr., Bulacan Provincial Director Senior Superintendent, said.

Twenty of the “buy bust” operations and 14 searches “resulted in armed encounter,” Caramat added.

Since coming to power in June 2016, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has unleashed an aggressive crackdown on drugs that has left at least 3,400 alleged dealers and users dead.

On Wednesday he praised the operations, saying, “That’s good. If we can only kill 32 every day, maybe we can fix what ails this country,” according to a translation by CNN affiliate CNN Philippines.

The number of dead suspects Tuesday is the highest the province has seen in a single night, Caramat said. He referred to the night of police action as a “one-time, big-time” operation, indicating that it was targeting “notorious drug pushers.”

In addition to the 32 killed, 107 persons were arrested, he added.

“Some quarters of the society are questioning why that many ended up dead, but all we can say is that we don’t have any control of the situation,” Caramat added.

“These subjects in this one time big-time operations, they are what we call the notorious drug pushers. They are called notorious. They won’t let themselves be arrested alive.”

PHOTO: RTVM
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Uncontrollable problem?

Prior to Tuesday’s police operation, Bulacan provincial police disclosures show at least 14 drug suspects died in separate police operations over the course of the month.

In July, at least 18 suspects were recorded dead in drug-related operations in the province.

Last week, Duterte sa