Inside Story

Can Rodrigo Duterte win the war on illegal drugs?

Philippine president lashes out at the UN for criticising his anti-crime campaign and reported extra-judicial killings.

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines is known for following through on his threats. His latest one is to withdraw the Philippines from the United Nations.

UN criticism of how he runs his country has angered Duterte. He says he is going to encourage China and African countries to also leave the UN and create a new global organisation.

Duterte’s verbal attack comes after two UN human rights experts said the president’s crackdown on crime might be illegal. It’s a policy Duterte has pushed since his presidential campaign.

He has encouraged citizens to carry out vigilante justice, to kill anyone suspected of buying or selling heroin, crack, meth and other drugs.

Police say more than 600,000 drug dealers and users have turned themselves in to avoid being killed.

And at least 900 suspected drug traffickers have been killed since Duterte won the presidential election in May.

So, can Duterte really win his war on drugs?

Presenter: Sami Zeidan


Richard Heydarian – Political science professor at De La Salle University

Rachel Chhoa Howard – Philippines researcher with Amnesty International in London 

Criselda Yabes – Author and columnist with Asia Sentinel