World Bulletin / News Desk
It's just after midnight and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's "One Time Big Time" show is getting into full swing as police shoot dead another young "drug personality".
The corpse is hauled out of one of Manila's sprawling shantytowns, where so many people have been killed in Duterte's drug war, and taken to a funeral parlour where other bullet-riddled bodies are lying on bare tables or a bloodied concrete floor.
The scene on Friday morning offered a haunting vision realised for Duterte, whose campaign stump speech last year included advice to voters to set up funeral parlours because they would be guaranteed money-spinners when he was president.
"The funeral parlours will be packed... I'll supply the dead bodies," Duterte said at one rally in the northern Philippines, which attracted typical cheers from Filipinos fed up with crime and attracted by his man-of-the-people charisma.
Duterte easily won the election largely because of his law-and-order platform, which included a vow to eradicate all drugs in society within six months by waging an unprecedented crackdown in which tens of thousands of people would die.
During the 14 months Duterte has been in power, police have indeed confirmed killing more than 3,500 people officially termed "drug personalities".
Unknown assailants have killed at least 2,000 others in drug-related crimes, according to police data, with rights groups attributing those and other unsolved murders to vigilante death squads or off-the-books police killings.
Until recently Duterte had been defiant in the face of criticism that, not only could his extraordinary campaign amount to a crime against humanity, it was bound to fail.
Duterte, 72, continues to insist his tactics are right -- while balancing comments such as he would be "happy to slaughter" three million drug addicts with indignant denials that he had ever incited police to act outside the law.
But over the past week Duterte has begun inserting into his near-daily speeches on the drug war that he is unlikely to achieve his goals by the time he has to stand down as president in 2022.
Duterte has partly blamed a corrupt police force for not being able to complete its mission.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 18 Ağustos 2017, 12:10