Some People Need Killing: A Memoir of Murder in My Country

Random. Oct. 2023. 448p. ISBN 9780593133132. $30. POL SCI
As an investigative journalist for a news outlet in the Philippines, Evangelista provides an upfront view of the drug war campaign initiated by Rodrigo Duterte, the former president of the Southeast Asian country, during his presidency and his two-plus decades as mayor of Davao City. In both roles, Duterte was known for his volatile behavior and inflammatory rhetoric. His promises to kill alleged drug dealers and users were not taken literally during his campaign, but this book shows how his orders were carried out by both police and vigilante groups as early as his first day as president. Back then, Evangelista worked the overnight shift, which meant risking her own safety as she went from the site of one killing to another to document the deaths and photograph the bodies. She explores the impact of the killings on the families left behind, which reveals the tragedy of numerous unnecessary deaths. While Duterte denies knowledge of the extrajudicial killings, the author’s deeply researched reporting and use of Duterte’s own statements indicate that he supported and encouraged them.
VERDICT This is an important, credible record of the war on drugs in the Philippines.
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