Duterte Youth: Don’t kill drug pushers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — A group of young Duterte supporters is fully-behind the President's policies — except for one thing.

That is, how the war on drugs is being carried out.

"Because ang daming natatagpuang patay," Ronald Cardema, chair of "Duterte Youth" told CNN Philippines' The Source on Thursday. "Gusto namin lahat ng drug lords talaga, drug pushers, mahuli."

[Translation: Because many people have been found dead. We want all drug lords and drug pushers to be arrested.]

The bloody crackdown on drugs has killed more than 4,000 in a steadily rising toll since Duterte was elected in July.

Around 3,060 slain suspects are classifed as "deaths under investigation," while over 2,000 were killed by policemen during operations according to the Philippine National Police Public Information Office (PNP-PIO). 

Duterte has repeatedly vowed protect policemen at the forefront of the war on drugs, justifying most of the killings were made in self-defense.

However, Cardema said those carrying out the campaign might be "doing something wrong."

"Kaka-open lang ng drug rehabilitation centers two days ago, so let's put them there or let's jail them, pero sana huwag ganun, natatagpuang patay na lang (A rehabilitation center has opened two days ago, so we can put them there, or in jail. That's better than getting them killed)," he said.

But his group continues to support Duterte and his other platforms, particularly the death penalty and federalism.

 

The youth group had their first organized rally at Luneta on November 25, coinciding with protests against the Marcos burial.

Cardema estimated around 20 to 50 people attended their rally.

"The anti-Marcos rally was already scheduled, but we wanted to be there to show our support to President Duterte," Cardema said. "Because as President he has many problems, and at least...he can see in the media that 'Uy, there are youth who are rallying for me.'"

He said Filipinos should be "be united" with the President's decisions for the country to move forward.

Duterte Youth was first formed during the election campaign and it now has around 600 members nationwide, Cardema recounted.