TIME

THE KILLING SEASON INSIDE PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE’S WAR ON DRUGS

A woman clutches the body of her husband after he was gunned down in Manila. Beside him is a cardboard sign saying DRUG PUSHER

AROUND 11 P.M. ON JULY 25, RESTITUTO Castro received an anonymous text message asking him to leave his house in northern Manila and go to the corner of the MacArthur Highway. Just hours earlier, the new Philippine President, 71-year-old Rodrigo Duterte, had given his first State of the Nation address, in which he vowed to destroy the country’s illegal drug trade by any means necessary. “We will not stop until the last drug lord . . . and the last pusher have surrendered or are put either behind bars or below the ground, if they so wish,” he said.

Castro, 46 and a father of four, was neither a drug lord nor a pusher. He never bought shabu—a local name for methamphetamine—for himself. Too poor to become a proper user—shabu starts at $31 a gram—he purchased the drug on behalf of his friends in exchange for a hit or two. “He always had a hard time saying no to his friends,” says his wife Merlyn. But even dabbling with meth didn’t sit well with his life as a family man and his work as a chauffeur for a nearby hotel, so Castro promised to stop

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