Bone Diggers Uncover Evidence of Injustices in Duterte’s Drug War

In a heart-wrenching scene at Manila North Cemetery, Father Flavie Villanueva, holding a Bible and a bottle of holy water, offers prayers beside a grieving mother’s son’s grave.

The tomb is opened, revealing the remains of Felizardo Virgo, a victim of Duterte’s drug war. Father Flavie and forensic pathologist Dr. Raquel Fortun are determined to seek justice for the thousands affected.

Facing challenges and government resistance, they unearth discrepancies in death certificates and inconsistent reports. Despite official estimates stating over 6,252 deaths, rights groups claim the toll could be much higher.

The collaborative effort between Father Flavie and Dr. Fortun aims to gather evidence for potential legal action, even involving the International Criminal Court.

Since Duterte’s exit, promises of a less violent approach by his successor have not materialized, with continued reports of drug-related killings.

Dr. Fortun meticulously examines exhumed bodies, exposing fractures and bullet holes, hoping for justice. The lack of automatic autopsies and police control over investigations raise concerns about accountability.

As calls for justice grow, Father Flavie supports victims’ families, arranging exhumations and cremations. Dr. Fortun’s work, though challenging, remains crucial in uncovering the truth. Despite small steps toward accountability, challenges persist, and the ICC continues its investigation.

In a recent incident, the case of Jerhode “Jemboy” Baltazar sheds light on police misconduct. Father Flavie’s involvement and Dr. Fortun’s autopsy reveal disturbing details, prompting harassment and interference by authorities. With no signs of Duterte being held accountable, hopes rest on international intervention, particularly from the ICC.

Amid the struggles, Father Flavie remains optimistic, emphasizing the pursuit of justice “one family at a time, one soul at a time.” The bone diggers’ efforts underscore the ongoing battle for accountability and the need for a reckoning in the aftermath of Duterte’s controversial drug war. (Source : BBC)

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