Head of Police, Ronald dela Rosa, whilst speaking at a Senate court hearing this week, revealed that over the last seven weeks, and since newly elected President Duterte had been elected in May this year, the strict new police operations in the country had killed about 750 people, and that all the other deaths were still being investigated.
Duterte is said to have won the national presidency as a result of some hardline policies being introduced to eradicate the drug trade and related epidemic in his country. Majority public opinion in Philippines is said to be very much in favor of the stern strategy adopted by Duterte, but it is being met with considerable concern from international human rights organizations and world leaders.
Duterte, who has previously gone so far as to even urge citizens to shoot and kill drug dealers resisting arrest, and also openly reiterating that the killings of drug suspects would be lawful if the police acted in self-defense.
Unsurprisingly, as a result of his outspoken public speeches, this week Duterte also delivered what is being described as "a foul-mouthed rant" about the global bodies such as UN and other senior world officials critical of his hard approach.
He even went on to threaten leaving the UN after the organization labeled his war on drugs as "criminal" under international law.
Speaking in response to the concerns as conveyed by the US government on the increase in drug-related killings in Philippines, Duterte described them as a "former colonial power," who he will not take any orders from.
Ronald dela Rosa when speaking to reporters at the court hearing this week also explained:
"Not all deaths under investigation are drug-related and around 40 killings were due to robbery or personal disputes."
The police Director-General also revealed during the hearing that up to 300 police officers were being suspected to be involved in the drugs trade, warning that they would be charged and removed from their positions if and when found guilty.
This has only increased the concerns of international human rights groups and Amnesty International have issued a "call to action" campaign.
Hundreds murdered in the Philippines since President Duterte's 'war on drugs' began. Call for an end to the killings https://t.co/D7GE2zLidD— Amnesty UK (@AmnestyUK) August 19, 2016
The Blunt-speaking 71-year-old leader Rodrigo Duterte, is getting quite the national reputation in his country and is being referred to in a colloquial sense as "Duterte Harry," in reference to US actor Clint Eastwood's classic Hollywood cinema role as "Dirty Harry."
The fictional character himself was also notorious for violating the rights of particular suspects. Duterte is also often referred to as "The Punisher" due to his hardline stance on combating crime in the Philippines and his call for promoting, what is in effect a "vigilante-style" culture on the ground.