The next day, they heard news that two bodies had been discovered nearby. The brothers had been shot dead during a police operation. “If they died with sickness, maybe I can accept with a free feeling in my heart,” says their mother, Llore Pasco. Instead, she says, they were killed by police officers who were operating with brazen impunity under the instruction of Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte.
After declaring a so-called “war on drugs”, he had repeatedly called for drug addicts, and anyone involved in the drug trade, to be killed. “If you know of any addicts, go ahead and kill them yourself, as getting their parents to do it would be too painful,” Duterte said a speech after taking office in 2016. “Of course the policemen shoot and shoot and shoot,” Pasco says. “Because he ordered kill, kill, kill.”
The ICC prosecutor estimates as many as 30,000 people were killed between July 2016 and March 2019.