MATTHEW RODRIGUEZ WRITES – After more than 12,000 deaths, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced it will investigate human rights violations from Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war on drugs.”

In July 2016, Duterte made headlines after introducing his anti-drugs initiative, which advocated the killing of anyone associated with the drug industry. This includes not only dealers, but addicts as well.

“Forget the laws on human rights,” Duterte said. “If I make it to the presidential palace, I will do just what I did as mayor. You drug pushers, hold-up men and do-nothings, you better go out. Because I’d kill you.”

Duterte has gained the support of the public through his war on drugs and reduction of crime.

According to the Social Weather Stations, in December 2017, 71 percent of adult Filipinos approved of Duterte’s work. As long as he clears the streets of drugs and cuts crime, people don’t seem to care about the human rights abuse.

According to the Philippine National Police, in his first year as president Duterte reduced crime in every category, except murders and homicide- — mostly attributed to extrajudicial killings. “Do the lives of 10 of these criminals really matter?” asked Duterte, citing the rise in murders and homicide. “If I am the one facing all this grief, would 100 lives of these idiots mean anything to me?”

Duterte appeals to many Filipinos because of his “strongman” personality. A strongman is a political science term referring to a leader who appeals to his base through the use of force. While he was mayor of Davao City, Duterte showed he was not afraid to use force by conducting a similar war on drugs.

When his citizens heard him say that he will reduce crime, especially drug crime, they backed him, no matter the consequences. And when he reduced crime in his first year, they praised him, despite his methods. Previous politicians have promised to do the same thing, but failed. Now, Filipinos have decided to back a man that fulfills those promises, even though he does it through intense violence.

Nevertheless, despite the Philippines’ support for Duterte, the human rights investigation will continue to go through, which could amount to numerous crimes against humanity.

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