New policy from the Philippines I can get behind

The mayor of a large Philippine city has vowed to pay a $700 (NZ$1035) bounty to police officers for killing criminals, stoking fears that the election of a tough-talking president will usher in an era of vigilante justice.

Tomas Osmena, the new leader of Cebu City, said that he will give officers 50,000 pesos for each wrongdoer killed “in the line of duty” as well as protect them from prosecution.

The reward is more than three times the basic pay for a patrol officer and has fuelled criticism by human rights groups that populist politicians will encourage a wave of extrajudicial killings by security forces.

Rodrigo Duterte won a landslide victory in this month’s presidential elections after pledging to wipe out crime within six months and predicted that 100,000 wrongdoers would die when he ordered a “shoot-to-kill” crackdown.

He is the long-serving mayor of Davao where he earned the nicknames of “the Punisher” and “Duterte Harry” for his harsh law-and-order policies in a city once called the country’s “murder capital”.

This man was democratically elected on a policy that will pay police to kill criminals for $1000 a head. 

When asked if such rewards might encourage vigilante killings, he responded: “I’m not going to suppress vigilantes.”

Osmena has already given a reward this week of nearly $400 to a Cebu policeman who wounded two robbers in a shoot-out, officials said.

Duterte’s spokesman, Salvador Panelo, said the new president would not allow extrajudicial killings, though he did not condemn the bounties.

“Maybe mayor Osmena is just joking, attempting a new gimmick so that his administration will be popular,” he said, adding: “To each his own.”

During the election campaign, Duterte said that he would make the fish of Manila Bay fat with the bodies of criminals and offered to “butcher” a criminal.

Human Rights Watch said that paying money for police to kill criminal suspects was a repugnant attempt to legitimise secret death squads.

“Filipinos, who over the years have made great sacrifices for accountability and rule of law, should resist these moves by their politicians,” the New York-based organisation said.

Duterte has said that he will push for the reintroduction of the death penalty after he takes office on June 30.

The savings to society would be substantial.  No court.  No prison.

Yes, there would be the odd person killed that wasn’t supposed to die, but that happens now.  We also lock people up that weren’t supposed to be locked up.

Whichever way you look at it, this is a fantastic policy.


– Stuff

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.