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. 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.”