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This is an opinion piece by Carlos Conde, senior Philippines researcher at Human Rights Watch, written for the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ). A former journalist, he reported about the Davao Death Squad killings for the PCIJ, The New York Times, and other publications.

Families who lost loved ones in President Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’ cheer the International Criminal Court’s decision to begin a full investigation into the brutal campaign

THE LAWS and official documents abound with terms and concepts that are sometimes easy and clear, but often vague and difficult, to fathom. But it is by their letter and intent that the virulent war on drugs of the Duterte administration must be implemented by the authorities, and must be understood by the citizens.

THEY ARE supposed to be officers of the law, their protocols strict and specific on what they can and cannot do, and how they must do things. But the Philippine National Police, the lead force in the virulent war on drugs of the Duterte administration, must live and lead by their own rules, and the laws they have sworn to respect and defend. Get to know what they mean when they say or cite some things.