>> Nearly 2,000 lives taken under the watchful eye of the Punisher. The Philippines police chief reporting the body count in President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody war on drugs, defending Operation Double Barrel in front of the Senate this week. The accompanying report appears to support the killings, though it highlights a critical point.
Less than 800 of the victims were killed by police. As Reuters' Andrew Marshall reports, the rest it seems were taken out by vigilante death squads.>> So, a number of the bodies were riddled with bullets and they also were hung with these hand written placards which said, I'm a drug pusher, don't emulate me.
There are also a number of killings by what's called in the Philippines MRCs, which means motorbike riding criminals. Now these are basically assassins on motorbikes. The guy in the front of the bike will do the driving, the guy on the back pulls the gun and blows your head off.
>> Police seem convinced that Duterte's heavy-handed street justice will work to curb drugs in the country. Critics are horrified but the President seems unphased.>> United Nations experts said recently that they thought the war on drugs was illegal. Now Duterte's response to that was basically, mind your own damn business.
If you look at what he's been doing in Davao as a mayor for 10, 20 years, all these killings have been taking place there as well, with absolutely no personal consequences for Duterte. So I think for now at least, he looks invincible.>> Adding to that invincibility, Duterte's approval rating stands above 90%.
The people clearly backing statements like the one he delivered to police last week, if criminals resist with violence, shoot and shoot them dead. Can I be any clearer than that?