MANILA – A photograph showing the body of a suspected drug dealer, his head wrapped in packaging tape, is on the cover of TIME Magazine’s Asia edition as the international publication explores President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.
“Night falls on the Philippines,” the headline read. The man on the cover photo, 46-year-old Restituto Castro, was “too poor to be a proper user,” according to the author, Rishi Iyengar.
Castro, who died in an apparent vigilante attack, was shot on the back of his head, according to the report.
The TIME article came amid mounting international pressure for Duterte to stop his anti-narcotics campaign, which has left over 2,000 people killed according to police reports.
The American magazine had featured Duterte after his landslide win in the May 9 vote. The President, billed as the “The Punisher” was shown smiling in the black and white cover photo.
Drug suspects, “rightfully fearing for their lives,” have surrendered to authorities by the thousands, according to the article.
Iyengar also mentioned Duterte’s tumultuous relationship with the United States, his high trust rating among Filipinos who believe he will eliminate crime, and the concerns of human rights advocates regarding his “authoritarian leanings.”
Earlier this month, Duterte said international media would “spins stories several times over” to paint him in a negative light.
American media, he said, are particularly good at using “a predicate or adjective that is worse to hear.”
“When they are after you, they make it appear to be the worst of you. So I watch the press. They can spin everything,” he said.
Last month, the New York Times published an editorial cartoon showing Duterte holding a canon on his shoulder, taking aim at an apple on the head of terrified man.
It came two weeks after the Washington Post published an editorial criticizing the alleged vigilante killings.