During the first seven months of Duterte's presidency, Amnesty International estimated up to 7,000 drug killings in the country, around 2,500 of which were done by actual policemen. How accurate those numbers are is anyone's guess, but they still leave thousands of victims unaccounted for. Enter Duterte's sanctioned contract killers. These are usually poor, desperate people like "Maria," a diminutive young woman who says she's personally killed six people as a part of a three-woman assassin group, or "ACE" and "Sheila," a husband-and-wife team who claim a whopping 800 killings. All of them say they're financed by law enforcement and get their orders directly from high-ranking police officers.
"It's a living. Uh, for us ... them, not so much ..."
After they get a call, ACE and Sheila say they generally have to adhere to a three-day deadline, and if they can, leave cards with the text "PUSHER" on the bodies -- because the job just wouldn't be evil enough without a goddamned supervillain calling card. Sometimes the hit requires creativity; Sheila recounts jobs wherein she had to masquerade as a club dancer to get close to the target. A successful hit nets the killer a prize of up to $430, and then they go back on the waiting list -- because they can never stop, not unless they want to become targets themselves.