Two hands lighting three white candles. Attached to the candles are small notes; one claiming "Hold Duterte Accountable for Killing the Poor!".
A scene from the past? Activists lit candles to protest the killing of farmers in a central Philippine province in Manila, Philippines, Monday, 1 April 2019. Police said that they were suspected communist rebels who opened fire during raids. But rights groups countered that the men were farmers and victims of extrajudicial killings. | Photo: © picture alliance / AP Photo | Aaron Favila

Impunity and Police Vigilantism – Is the highly excessive use of deadly force by the police in the Philippines now over?

Since June 30, Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency has been a thing of the past. This Spotlight asks why police forces in the Philippines were so willing to carry out the killing of drug personalities at Duterte’s behest in 2016 and what that may mean for the future. I argue that the inability to successfully bring suspects to justice and the resulting damage to the police’s self-image as a potent guardian of peace and order foster vigilante activities by police where a political and social environment exists that legitimizes such a strategy of violent crime control.