By Erik De Castro and Manuel Mogato
MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines police came under pressure on Friday to explain the killing of a high-school student after the 17-year-old became one of at least 80 people shot dead this week in an escalation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s ruthless war on drugs.
Television channels aired CCTV footage that showed Kian Loyd Delos Santos being carried by two men to the place where his body was later found, raising doubt about an official report that said he was shot because he fired at police officers first.
Witnesses told the ABS-CBN channel that the teenager did not have a firearm and police officers at the scene handed him a gun, asked him to fire the weapon and run.
(For a graphic on Anti-drugs operations in the Philippines, click http://tmsnrt.rs/2fO2d3k)
National police chief Ronald dela Rosa said that if the Grade 11 student did not pose a threat, the officers who shot him on Thursday night would be held accountable.
“Just think about it, he is just a kid. If that happened to your sibling?” he said on GMA TV. “We will investigate it, I assure you.”
Metro Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde said the three policemen involved had been relieved of their duties and an investigation would be launched into the incident, which took place in the Caloocan district in the northwest of the capital.
Police killed at least 13 people in Manila on the third night of a new push in Duterte’s war on drugs and crime, taking the toll for one of the bloodiest weeks so far to 80, Reuters witnesses and media reported.
Earlier this week, 67 people were gunned down and more than 200 arrested in Manila and provinces adjoining the Philippines capital, in what police described as a “One-Time, Big-Time” push to curb drugs and street crimes.
The term has been used by police to describe a coordinated drive in crime-prone districts, usually slums or low-income neighborhoods, often with additional officers.
The spike in killings drew condemnation from Vice President Leni Robredo, who belongs to a party opposed to Duterte.
Branding it “something to be outraged about”, she has been a constant critic of the crackdown that has killed thousands of Filipinos and caused international alarm since Duterte took office over a year ago.
“NOT THE SOLUTION”
Several senators raised concerns on Friday over the rise in the number of deaths, calling for an impartial investigation.
“Killing the poor and powerless is not the solution to the drug problem when tons of methamphetamine are smuggled in,” Senator Francis Pangilinan said in a statement.
An ally of the president, Senator Jose Victor Ejercito, said he was “worried that these intensified killings are being used by some rogue police officers, knowing that the president will protect them”.
Police say there has been no instruction from higher authorities to step up their anti-drug operations and they are only doing their job.
Duterte indicated this week that the escalation had his blessing, saying it was good that 32 criminals had been killed in a province north of Manila and adding: “Let’s kill another 32 every day. Maybe we can reduce what ails this country.”
On Thursday, he said he would not just pardon police officers who killed drug offenders during the anti-narcotics campaign, but also promote them.
“I don’t think they are simply acting based on the president’s endorsements,” Duterte’s spokesman, Ernesto Abella, told reporters. “It just so happens they are taking active steps in addressing the drug situation in Philippines.”
Critics maintain that members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) are executing suspects and say it is likely they have a hand in thousands of unsolved murders of drug users by mysterious vigilantes. The PNP and government reject that.
Although the violence has been criticized by much of the international community, Filipinos largely support the campaign and domestic opposition to it has been muted.
“Again and again we hear people say it is safer … they appreciate the fact that the Philippines is being made safe again,” Abella said.
(Additional reporting by Ronn Bautista and Karen Lema; Writing by John Chalmers; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)
An Israeli court in Jerusalem yesterday charged a border policeman for killing a Palestinian teenager in 2014 reducing his sentence from manslaughter following a plea bargain.
Israeli border police officer Ben Deri was originally indicted on charges of manslaughter in the 15 May 2014 killing of 17-year-old Nadeem Nawara and 22-year-old and Muhammad Abu Taher. The indictment accused Deri of knowingly firing live ammunition with intent to cause “serious injury, while foreseeing the possibility of causing death”, however in December 2016, the prosecution said it would offer Deri a plea deal to the lesser charge of negligence, claiming he was unaware there were live munitions in his rifle magazine.
Siyam Nawara, Nadeem’s father, told Quds Press that a verdict is expected to be announced on 27 September, adding that the family refuses to sign the plea bargain.
The Israeli Supreme Court rejected the family’s petition to refuse the plea bargain, he added.
Siyam explained that under the new bargain, Deri will only serve a maximum of five years in prison while the punishment for manslaughter could reach up to 20 years.
There is a video that proves that it was murder in cold blood, and all the proof and the autopsy of the body say that Deri is the murderer
Siyam told Israel’s Channel 2 in December. “We don’t need a plea bargain; we have 70 witnesses that were there, and hard evidence.”
Nadeem Nawara, a 17-year-old at the time was shot dead by Deri in 2014 during confrontations with the Israeli army during Nakba Day demonstrations in the occupied West Bank village of Beitunia, near Ramallah.
A teen from Ohio had a terrifying encounter with a shark earlier this month while boogie boarding in South Carolina.
Reagan Readnour, 14, was on vacation in Hilton Head when she was bitten by a shark twice, the Island Packet reported.
The teen said that she was boogie boarding at the beach with her family when she felt something tug at her leg.
“I thought it was my brother messing with me when I felt something grab at my leg,” Readonor told the Island Packet on Friday. “I felt a terrible sting and didn’t know what it was.”
Readonor only realized that she had been attacked after her brother saw blood.
“His face turned white, then I started screaming, and they all started helping me and calming me down,” she said. “I think I kind of blacked out at that point.”
Lifeguards on hand immediately attended to Readnour and she was transported to Hilton Head Hospital, where she was treated for multiple lacerations across her thigh and calf.
She said that she feels fortunate that the attack was not more serious.
“I feel lucky that I only had a few lacerations, and I mean, not a lot of people get to say they got bit by a shark,” Readnour said. “You always hear of people getting their arms bit off and losing a limb from shark bites, and mine wasn’t that bad.”
Although she probably won’t brave the ocean again, the teen said the attack won’t stop her from returning to Hilton Head for another vacation.
“I mean I’m probably not getting in the ocean again, but I still really love Hilton Head, and we will be back next year,” she said.
When your usual way of life is threatened by forces that are too powerful and big for you to battle, what would you do? Would you sit in a corner and allow these forces to overwhelm you, or would you push back and try to fight it, no matter the cost? This is the main theme of a new docu-drama called Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower, which premiered in Netflix on Friday, May 26. It tackled the events that have unfolded in Hong Kong — which has existed as an independent territory of the People’s Republic of China — now that it has been handed back to the Chinese after the British relinquished their hold on the territory back in 1997.
Hong Kongers who were used to Western systems of governance that allowed social and political freedom are worried about how their lives will be impacted after communist China regained control of the city.
For instance, Beijing promised that Hong Kong will live under the “one country, two systems decree.” This decree would supposedly pave the way for a gradual transition of power to the Chinese authorities and ensure that Hong Kong would still function with autonomy for the next 50 years. However, new rules that set to undermine Hong Kong’s existing freedoms have already been put in place, such as the National Education program — which its critics called pro-mainland propaganda — due to its censorship of historical events like the Tianenmen Square Protests in 1989, in which students spearheaded massive demonstrations to protest the state of the government then, and which led to the massacre of many young lives. The National Education program also graded students based on how loyal to the state they are deemed by their teachers.
The main character is 15-year-old Joshua Wong, a small and scrawny teenager who is gifted with the excellent talent of public speaking. He used this talent to express his views regarding Hong Kong education, and how its standards should be set without interference by Hong Kong — now Chinese — authorities.
“I want to know, where are the adults? No matter what the price, we can’t dump this on the next generation. This generation must complete our mission!”
Wong’s shouts were evident of his beliefs, making him the voice of the people who were too young to be aware of the curtailment to their freedoms or were too scared to speak up in protest of such restrictions.
“We demand the government withdraw National Education. We can’t have Communist China dictating what is taught in Hong Kong schools,” Wong said, noting that mainland China is propagating “brainwashing curriculum.” (Related: Hong Kong citizens protest against government brainwashing while American citizens embrace Communist ideals.)
The documentary followed Wong’s actions and the rise of the movement that he founded in 2012 called Scholarism as it gained international fame. The reactions and responses of Beijing-backed Hong Kong chief executive CY Leung — who was appointed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 — to Scholarism and Wong’s movements were also recorded.
Wong, for all his activist efforts, has been thrown in jail in Thailand, banned in Malaysia, and was physically hurt at the Hong Kong International Airport. However, he refused to give up, saying, “It’s still necessary for us to move on and continue to strike, to be ready to fight for democracy with the involvement of the young generation, especially since we are the generation born after the Handover.”
Joe Piscatella, the director of the documentary, captured Wong’s struggles and hardships beautifully – from the powerful rally speeches to the violent clash with policemen to the heartfelt behind-the-scenes interviews; one is riveted by a teenager’s quest for social justice, for personal identity, and for fighting for what he believes is right.
Piscatella, who presented a play-by-play historical documentary, said the film can appear as interesting as a no-nonsense, well-sourced, and highly-researched news report, but that its emotional takeaway is heavy, as it is something that can tug at people’s heartstrings.
Wong is, as some people will say, a modern-day revolutionary. One interviewee compared him to Joan of Arc, saying, “The youngster who can see the world clearly, and is not as jaded as adults, comes into a complicated adult conflict and clarifies. Wong fits that template. He is taking on literally the largest country in the world. He did it because it was the right thing to do. There was a sense of innocence that actually made people identify with it. That innocence also made the parents’ generation somewhat ashamed that they had to leave these young kids to be fighting out there for this.”
In an interview with GQ.com, Wong said his favorite superhero is Spiderman and that his favorite quote from the movie is “With great power comes great responsibility.” With an idol who believes in putting others before one’s own self-interests, and having been compared to a woman-turned-knight who brimmed with passion for a cause, it is no wonder Wong is a superhero in his own right.
For more stories like this, visit Suppressed.news.