Philippine police have killed 32 people in a series of raids near the capital Manila in the bloodiest night of president Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.
Duterte won a landslide victory in presidential elections last year after promising an unprecedented war on drugs in which tens of thousands of people would be killed.
The raids from Monday to Tuesday resulted in the single largest death toll in one night of police operations since officers killed 16 people, including a city mayor, in a raid on a southern city on 30 July.
Senior police superintendent Romeo Caramat said on Wednesday that 67 police operations in various parts of Bulacan province had left 32 suspects dead in encounters with police, while 109 others were arrested.
The statement updated police records released earlier that said 26 anti-drug operations were conducted in 12 towns and cities, resulting in the killing of 21 “drug personalities”.
The records said 21 firearms and about 100g (3.5 ounces) of methamphetamines, popularly known as “shabu” were seized in the raids.
Bulacan, a province of about 3.3 million people north of Manila, has recorded numerous arrests and killings of drug suspects in recent months, police records showed.
Duterte has vowed to protect police who kill drug suspects under suspicious circumstances.
Government figures show that since Duterte took office last year up to 26 July, a total of 3,451 “drug personalities” have been killed in police operations.
More than 2,000 other people have been killed in drug-related crimes and thousands more murdered in unexplained circumstances, according to police data.
Despite warnings by human rights groups that Duterte may be overseeing a crime against humanity, he remains widely popular in the Philippines.