Spotlight 06/22: Impunity and Police Vigilantism. Is the highly excessive use of deadly force by the police in the Philippines now over? | References

by Peter Kreuzer | To the Publication

1 Kreuzer, Peter 2016. “If they resist, kill them all”: Police Vigilantism in the Philippines. PRIF Report No. 142, Frankfurt/M., Kreuzer, Peter 2019. Police Use of Deadly Force in the Philippines: Comparing Levels and Patterns Before and Since Duterte. In: Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies, 12/2, 149-166, DOI: 10.14764/10.ASEAS-0019.

2 Realnumbersph. (Government Facebook account providing information on operations in the context of the campaign for a drug-free Philippines). Critics argue that government numbers are too low. Alternative efforts at detailing cases, for example, by ABS-CBN, consistently document lower numbers than those reported by the Security Institutions themselves, suggesting that the claim of significant underreporting by state institutions rests on shaky ground.

3 Based on the ABS-CBN dataset (ABS-CBN news no date. MAP, Charts: The Death Toll of the War on Drugs.

4 Kotecha, K.C. / Walker, J.L. 1976. Police vigilantes. In: Society, 13/3, 48-52, p. 50.

5 Leander, N.P. et al 2020. Frustration-affirmation? Thwarted goals motivate compliance with social norms for violence and nonviolence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 119/2, 249-271, quote: 249.

6 Department of Justice (no year). DOJ Open Government Data.

7 European Police Officer, Member of GoJust Project. Interview: March 6, 2022 (translation P.K.).

8 Philippine National Police (no year). About us. See also the PNP Ethical Doctrine (2014).

9 Mogato, Manuel /Clare Baldwin 2017. Special Report. Police describe kill rewards, stage crime scenes in Duterte’s drug war. Reuters April 18, Duterte also announced bounties for the killing of police officers accused of supporting suspected “narco-politicians” (Business Insider 2017. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announces ‘dead or alive’ bounties for police involved in drugs. August 9,

10 Kreuzer, Peter 2020. A Patron-Strongman who delivers: Explaining enduring public support for President Duterte in the Philippines. PRIF-Report 1,

11 Interview with provincial prosecutor March 10, 2022 [anonymized].

12 Interview with provincial prosecutor March 10, 2022 [anonymized].

13 Interview with provincial prosecutor March 10, 2022 [anonymized].

14 Interview with provincial prosecutor February 10. 2022 [anonymized].

15 On average Duterte had an approval rating of 80.5%.

Source: Pulse Asia 2022. Performance Ratings of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte September 2016 to March 2022,

Source: Pulse Asia. Various surveys, There were no further surveys after September 2018 that included this question.
See also: Kreuzer, Peter 2020. A patron-strongman who delivers: Explaining public support for President Duterte in the Philippines. PRIF Report 1/2020, Frankfurt/M.


16 One strategy for this has been the dehumanization of the campaign’s victims; see: Reyes, Danilo Andres 2016. The Spectacle of Violence in Duterte’s “War on Drugs.” In: Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs. 35/3. 111–137.

17 Here, a certain undetected proportion of unreported cases may be assumed. In the case of the ABS-CBN data, this should be about 30%. In the data established by the author, the estimated number of unreported cases should be somewhat lower, as becomes evident when comparing the author’s data with official PNP data for the province of Bulacan.

18 For the relevant data on the US see: The Washington Post (updated July 12, 2022). Fatal Force.