Philippine court hands two life sentences for torturing, planting evidence on drug victims

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Philippine court hands two life sentences for torturing, planting evidence on drug victims

Funeral workers prepare to remove bodies from a crime suspect's body after he was killed in gunbattles late August 17, 2017 in Manila, Philippines. The Philippine police killed a number of drug and crime suspects in the overnight gunbattles in the capital. President Rodrigo Duterte expressed his satisfaction with the new spike in drug killings and reassured law enforcers that they will not rot in jail if they get entangled in lawsuits. BULLIT MARQUEZ AP MANILA — A Philippine court handed two life imprisonment sentences for torturing and planting evidence on drugs war victims at the height of former President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody anti-narcotics crackdown.

READ MORE: Philippines VP accepts Duterte's offer of post in the war of drugs.

Rights groups called for justice for thousands more who died during Duterte's six-year term, which ended in June 2022, and welcomed the rare conviction on Thursday.

READ MORE: At least 80 dead after escalation in the Philippines war on drugs.

A Caloocan City court in the capital sentenced police officer Jefrey Perez to two terms of life imprisonment, disqualification from public office, and monetary penalty for the arrest of Carl Angelo Arnaiz, 19, and Reynaldo De Guzman, 14, in August 2017 - both of whom died.

The planting was intended to paint a picture of Carl as a criminal. The presiding judge Rodrigo Pascua said he was a result of a legitimate police operation and that his death was a result of a legitimate police operation.

The court said the police officer was guilty of torturing and planting plastic sachets containing marijuana leaves and methamphetamine and a 38-caliber revolver on Arnaiz.

READ MORE: Scores of children killed in the Philippines war on drugs:

A police report said that Arnaiz died in a gunfight while De Guzman's body was found with stab wounds.

Persida Acosta, chief of the Public Attorney's Office, told ANC on Thursday that the case was a warning to all law enforcers not to use excessive force against civilians.

The Philippine police did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

More than 6,200 people were killed in police operations under Duterte's war on drugs. The police rejects the accusations that the killings were executions, saying the drug suspects violently resisted arrest and that authorities acted in self-defence.

We are not satisfied. Amnesty International Philippines said on Facebook that this is just a drop in a bucket. It added that those who encouraged the police to torture, kill and plant evidence must be made to account, not just the low level police.