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The cornerstone of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s political career is his war against drugs and crime. That battle has been waged without limit; not only has he mobilized all elements of the state to fight the scourge but he has encouraged extrajudicial action as well — the killing of suspected drug dealers and users — resulting in the loss of thousands of lives.

Whenever this program comes under scrutiny, Duterte is defiant. In the most recent case, he ordered Philippine government agencies and state owned companies to suspend loan and grant agreements with countries that voted to investigate the crackdown on drugs. This decision is foolish and dangerous. It erodes the government’s authority and contributes to a pervasive sense of lawlessness that will fuel and sustain the culture that perpetuates the drug trade.

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