You see, the truly unpleasant thing about the people of the Philippines voting Duterte into office is that they did it with the understanding that he'd do for the country what he did for the town of Davao, where he served as mayor for decades. When he took office, Davao was one of the most dangerous cities in the country. Now, it's one of the safest in the world. That sounds great, but the problem is he accomplished this by using death squads to literally kill criminals in the street.
The death penalty is a huge deterrent when it means you might get shot in the head if an especially vigilant citizen catches you shoplifting. Still, results are results, and people want to be safe. By electing Duterte, his constituents gave him the green light to follow through on his promise to kill 100,000 people during his first six months in office.
Maybe that promise sounded like cartoon evil that would never happen in real life, but after just a few short months in office, Duterte is already on the verge of following through on it. At the end of last month, he delivered a speech in which he called on police and citizens alike to kill drug dealers and drug users. Within four days, 30 people were executed in the streets. Some estimates have put the total number of killings since he took office at 100 or more.
However, as terrifying as all of those deaths are, what's truly concerning is the number of dealers and users who've attempted to fend off execution by surrendering to police instead. The most recent reports put that number at 60,000. What happens to those people?
If you believe the official government line, plans are underway to build rehab facilities, but they also said that they discourage extrajudicial killings, which is a hard claim to back up when the president gets behind a microphone and literally tells people to murder drug dealers and drug users. Besides, there's no telling how many of those people are drug dealers. What would be the point of sending them to rehab?
I know it's hard to think about, but what seems more likely: that Duterte has suddenly had a change of heart and is going to deal with those 60,000 people in an ethical way, or that he's close to rounding up enough undesirable types to deliver on his grisly campaign promise to dump 100,000 bodies in Manila Bay within six months? We're talking about a man who keeps his crazy promises. He's openly embraced murdering criminals as a quick and easy means of keeping the general population safe, and the people who voted for him have made it clear that they have no problem with him doing just that. Rodrigo Duterte was not elected to build rehab facilities. He's supposed to deliver bodies, and he is now in possession of those bodies. This is a man who loves theatrics. You can see that on full display in this video of a meeting he had recently with a suspected drug dealer.