Is Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs a stain on his legacy?

Marc Lamont Hill challenges the former spokesperson for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

As the Philippines kicks off its presidential campaign to replace outgoing leader Rodrigo Duterte, many human rights groups say the president’s so-called war on drugs is a stain on his legacy. Thousands have been killed in the violent crackdown on alleged drug dealers and users that was one of Duterte’s main policies since taking office in 2016.

In September 2021, the International Criminal Court (ICC) launched an investigation into the potential extrajudicial killings committed during the Philippines’ “war on drugs”. A United Nations report published in June 2020 found that of 42,286 anti-illegal drugs operations conducted between July 1, 2016, and November 30, 2017, only 507 – 1.2 percent – were based on an arrest warrant.

Asked about the thousands of killings that took place under Duterte, his former spokesperson and now candidate for the Philippine Senate, Harry Roque, responded: “I don’t have personal knowledge about these figures, and I can’t comment on something that I don’t have any personal knowledge of, no. But I will say, the president has enjoyed the highest satisfaction rating ever in Philippine history. That is at 72 percent, and a trust rating of 69 percent.”

On UpFront, Marc Lamont Hill challenges Harry Roque on Duterte’s legacy.