The Cable

MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- On the day he was sworn into office, President Rodrigo Duterte went to a Manila slum and exhorted residents who knew any drug addicts to "go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful."

Two months later, nearly 2,000 suspected drug pushers and users lay dead as morgues continue to fill up. Faced with criticism of his actions by rights activists, international bodies and outspoken Filipinos, including the top judge, Duterte has stuck to his guns and threatened to declare martial law if the Supreme Court meddles in his work.

According to a survey early last month, he has the support of nearly 91 percent of Filipinos. The independent poll was done during his first week in office, and no new surveys have come out since then.

National police chief Ronald dela Rosa told a Senate hearing this week that police have recorded more than 1,900 dead, including 756 suspected drug dealers and users who were gunned down after they resisted arrest. More than 1,000 other deaths are under investigation, and some of them may not be drug-related, he said.

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