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  • Since Duterte took office, more than 3,500 people have been killed in what the Philippine National Police says were gunfights with drug suspects.

    Since Duterte took office, more than 3,500 people have been killed in what the Philippine National Police says were gunfights with drug suspects. | Photo: Reuters

The killing of a 17-year-old has sparked outrage and protests in the Philippines.

Political opponents of Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte have urged him to end a "culture of impunity" and a surge in drug-related killings, amid widespread anger at police over the death of a teenager.

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"I dare you, Mr President, to issue a clear and categorical order to the entire police force to stop the killings now," Opposition Senator Leila de Lima said in a handwritten note from a detention facility.

Lima is being held on charges of involvement in drug operations inside of jails, which she denies.

"Just say it. Do it now, please."

Kian Loyd Delos Santos, a slain 17-year-old high school student, has become the latest victim of Duterte’s campaign on drugs, which saw more than 90 people killed last week in three nights of intensified police operations.

According to the police report, Delos Santos ran when he saw the officers approaching him. He then pulled out a gun and opened fire at the policemen, who shot back. But an autopsy showed Delos Santos was shot in the back of the head while on the floor, suggesting that there was no gunfight.

In a news conference at the presidential palace on Monday, Duterte said there could have been abuses in his government's war on drugs and ordered the police to take custody of officers who were involved in the killing of Delos Santos.

"There is a possibility that in some of police incidents there could be abuses. I admit that," Duterte said.

Duterte added that he would not condone abuses and the police officers would have to face the consequences of their actions if that is the recommendation of a formal investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation, NBI.

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"If the NBI says we file charges of murder, sorry to the policemen concerned," he said. "You have to face the justice system. They have to go to jail if convicted."

Since Duterte took office, more than 3,500 people have been killed in what the Philippine National Police, PNP, says were gunfights with drug suspects who had resisted arrests.

The PNP said some 2,000 additional people were killed in other drug-related incidents that it denies involvement in. However, human rights advocates said the death toll could be far higher than police say.

The Senate will hold an inquiry into last week's bloodshed on Thursday. Social media users, politicians of all sides and Catholic bishops also have called for an impartial investigation into the surge in killings by police.

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