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Story Publication logo August 15, 2017

Signs of Execution

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Many families sleep on Mabini Street of Malate, Manila, often suffering not only from poverty but substance abuse problems. By May 2016, a little over one month before the inauguration of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, extrajudicial killings have taken the lives of over 8,000 Filipinos. As of June 2017, almost all the homeless who sleep on Mabini Street are no longer there, their whereabouts unknown. Image by James Whitlow Delano. Philippines, 2016.
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When he made a pitch for the presidency of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte made a bold promise to...

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The indentation on the wrist of Julius Soriano, 24-years-old, shows signs that his hands were bound before he was shot to death during a police operation in Caloocan, Metro Manila. There is a bullet wound in his arm too, and the slug is still embedded in his arm, coming to a stop exactly were the indentation line left an impression in his skin, suggesting that whatever caused the indentation stopped the bullet too. Image by James Whitlow Delano. Philippines, 2017.
The indentation on the wrist of Julius Soriano, 24-years-old, shows signs that his hands were bound before he was shot to death during a police operation in Caloocan, Metro Manila. There is a bullet wound in his arm too, and the slug is still embedded in his arm, coming to a stop exactly were the indentation line left an impression in his skin, suggesting that whatever caused the indentation stopped the bullet too. Image by James Whitlow Delano. Philippines, 2017.

The three killings the night of June 21, 2017 had striking similarities.

Christopher Roque, 40, Tony Santos, 38 and Julius Soriano, 24, were all gunned down near or in their homes. To get to them, their killers had to walk through tight dark alleys that were so narrow only one person at a time could pass through.

There was another similarity. All three victims that night had bullet wounds in their forearms suggesting that the victims had attempted, and failed, to block their assassin's bullets. In the case of Julius Soriano, both his wrists bore the ridges of what appeared to be zip tie and a bullet slug remained lodged in his right wrist.

Before dawn, another two bodies were dumped in a grassy field in Quezon City. Both had signs around their necks: "I am a hold-upper. Don't be like me."

There were a total of seven reported drug related deaths that night adding to the more than 12,000 dead since Rodrigo Duterte assumed the presidency and unleashed a war on drugs.

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