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World

Vigilante death squads thrive in the Philippines

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Opening sequence

World

Vigilante death squads thrive in the Philippines

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COMING UP:Vigilante death squads thrive in the Philippines

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Transcript

00:00:00
>> Duterte, Duterte.>> Five days after the Philippines elected Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte as its next president, 47-year-old drug user Gil Gabrillo was gunned down by masked men in the city suburbs. He's one of an estimated 1,400 people who have been killed by vigilante death squads in the past 20 years, cheered on by Duterte, AKA the punisher.
00:00:23
I'm Andrew Marshall reporting from Davao, where the next president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, has been there for many years. Under his watch, death squads roam the streets killing drug pushers and petty criminals. Many people say the city now feels safer, but that's come at a cost. This is the riverside slum where 15-year-old Romel Bantilan was shot and killed last August as Duterte prepared to run for president.
00:00:46
Police say Bantilan delivered drugs and was likely killed by a gang. His mother doesn't believe that, but she can't prove what she suspects.>> My son was shot at 1:00 in the afternoon. There were a lot of people around but nobody wants to testify because they're all afraid.
00:01:01
>> Human rights watch says police here often work with gunmen, feeding them names and pictures of targets, an accusation the police deny. Before Duterte's crusade against drugs and crime, Davao was a bloody battleground between the security forces and communist rebels. The city is much calmer now, although it still has one of the highest murder rates in the country.
00:01:21
Duterte has denied any involvement with the death squads, but he has repeatedly condoned them. Authorities have been looking into these killings for years, but not a single person has been successfully prosecuted. Now that Duterte is headed for the top job, one law official tells Rueters, the investigations are effectively dead because quote, who would investigate the president.