Philippines President Criticizes Times Coverage of Deadly Antidrug Campaign
according to rapporteur report from Nytimes, link ,Martin Andanar, the president’s communications secretary, complained in a statement that the piece, titled “They Are Slaughtering Us Like Animals” and published on Wednesday, “depicts the Philippines as the Wild, Wild West in this part of the world.” He added, “This is farthest from the truth.”
Daniel Berehulak, the photographer and author of the article, spent five weeks documenting the president’s antidrug campaign. He photographed 57 slain victims at 41 locations in metropolitan Manila.
His article reported that since the beginning of July, about 2,000 people had been killed by the police and that there had been more than 3,500 unsolved killings in the country. These figures match the numbers given to the news media by a Philippine police spokesman, Dionardo Carlos.
Mr. Andanar said that about a third of the unsolved killings had been identified as drug-related.
“The rest are murder and homicide cases perpetrated by riding-in-tandem gunmen which the Philippine National Police (P.N.P.) is now investigating, the results of which will be made public in due time,” he said in the statement.
Killings by gunmen riding in tandem on a motorbike are often drug-related attacks by vigilantes. Critics have said that the police are behind some vigilante killings, but Mr. Andanar denied that charge in his statement.
“The police have nothing to do with these killings,” he said. “The president has not given any direct orders for them to kill drug dealers and users on mere suspicion. Police operatives only neutralize those who violently resist arrest, or else they could be the ones who end up dead. Thus, the president’s marching order to the police is that they have the right to defend themselves when their lives are endangered.”
Michael Slackman, The Times’s International editor, stood behind the coverage. “Daniel’s work was an important contribution to our ongoing and in-depth coverage of the Philippines,” he said in a statement. “He took us onto the streets in a visceral, human way, capturing the cold reality of state policy while putting deaths in proper context.”