By Kristine Angeli Sabillo
The stench of decaying food and human waste jolts us as we search for our first crime scene in the back alleys of Quiapo in Manila. It is 10:25 p.m. on Dec. 21.
From Palanca bridge, we make our way down a narrow street called Muelle de la Quinta along the putrid Estero de San Miguel. The place reeks of urine, but we ignore it and continue to walk, keeping an eye out for blood on the road.
The bodies have already been picked up by the undertaker, sources say, but we want to get video footage of where the supposed gunfight happened.
It’s on the other side of the estero, a man tells us. We go back up the bridge and then down again on the other side, into a dimly lit alley.
We turn our camera lights on and we see the blood immediately—puddles of dark red beside dried yellow leaves.
Two men were killed here earlier in the evening after an “encounter” with policemen who had just finished conducting antidrug visits in the neighborhood.
It has been more than an hour since we began our graveyard shift and left the busy streets of Makati City, where shoppers and office workers bask under the bright lights and glitter of Christmas decorations, seemingly oblivious to the spate of killings that has hit poor neighborhoods in the metropolis.
It’s the winter solstice and this night is the longest of the year, just a few days before Christmas.
Since President Duterte assumed office on June 30, more than 6,000 people have been killed—more than 2,000 shot dead in police operations and the rest murdered by unknown assailants. Continue reading