Fishermen in the Philippines have revealed that they have been dumping bodies of drug suspects, killed as part of the country’s so-called war on drugs, on the orders of the police.
The bodies, called “trash” by authorities, have been thrown on the sides of highways and in Manila Bay over the past year.
“Police are the ones coming to my house ordering me to take out trash,” said Manuel, a local fisherman who has personally disposed of 20 bodies.
Thousands of people have died since President Rodrigo Duterte took office last year and ordered an unprecedented crackdown on drug-related crimes that has drawn global criticism and allegations of widespread human rights abuses.
“You drug pushers, hold-up men and do-nothings, you better go out,” he said during the election campaign last year. “Because I’d kill you. I’ll dump all of you into Manila Bay, and fatten all the fish there.”
Critics say the president has unleashed a campaign of mass murder by police and unknown assailants on the nation’s most vulnerable.
Police have reported killing some 3,200 people in anti-drug operations, while thousands of unlawful killings remain unexplained.
Philippine police, who vowed to continue their crackdown on drugs, said they would investigate the alleged dumping of bodies.