This piece first aired Oct. 11, 2016, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.
Dondi Tawatao went from feature photographer in Manila to chasing crime scenes across the island nation’s capital city. The Philippines’ war on drugs has resulted in the deaths of more than 3,500 people — deaths Tawatao has been capturing through his lenses.
Since President Rodrigo Duterte took office earlier this year, there has been a rise in targeted attacks on drug users and suspected dealers. Backed by a culture of impunity, a wave of vigilantism has left bodies in the streets and in homes. Tawatao also documents stories of survivors devastated by the killings, some of whom deny their killed relative had any drug ties at all.