Philippine police kill 58 people in three days

This article is more than 12 months old

MANILA: At least 26 people died overnight in police operations in the Philippines capital Manila, authorities said yesterday, a second night of bloodshed this week in an intensification of President Rodrigo Duterte's fierce war on drugs and crime.

The killings followed 32 deaths in near-simultaneous police raids on Monday night in Bulacan province.

Together, they mark the deadliest period of a drugs-focused crackdown that has killed thousands of Filipinos and caused international alarm since Mr Duterte took office over a year ago.

Colonel Erwin Margarejo, spokesman for the police, described the raids that started on Wednesday in Manila as "one-time, big-time" operations, the term used by police in Bulacan who said victims died because they chose to put up a fight.

"It is not focused only on drugs.

"We are operating also against other street crimes, like robbery, but these people could also be under the influence of drugs," he said. "If they resist violently, our police have to defend themselves."

It was not clear what was behind the step-up in the number of coordinated police operations, but Mr Duterte indicated it had his blessing.

He said it was good that 32 criminals had been killed in Bulacan, and added: "Let's kill another 32 every day. Maybe we can reduce what ails this country."