This segment originally aired Nov. 16, 2016, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.
Crystal meth has been a huge problem in the Philippines for years, and President Rodrigo Duterte swore to stamp it out by any means necessary. The Philippine National Police claim more than 2,500 drug suspects have been killed in police operations and suspected vigilante murders, but local media estimate the death toll since July is over 4,000, including innocent victims.
“Human rights are gone,” Miguel de Guzman, an inmate at the Quezon City Jail, told VICE News correspondent Seb Walker. “Of course, everyone should have the right to live, the right to change, even if they’re dealing drugs or using drugs. They should be given the opportunity to change.”
More than half of the inmates being held at the jail are there for drug-related offenses. The jail is operating at more than four times capacity and diseases including tuberculosis run rampant. Each month, two to three inmates die inside.
“Maybe they get one more chance,” the jail’s chief inspector, Roselyn Carta, said. “And if not, it’s fine with me if they — if they do not consider change, then maybe it’s time for them to go.”