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Bishop Pablo Virgilio David, a prominent critic of the drug war, has opened 14 Catholic missions in the Manila slums where the anti-drug campaign has largely been waged. (Photo by Vincent Go)
The Big Story

The risky business of corpses and souls in Duterte's drug war

In Manila, funeral homes and Catholic clergy count human cost of the three-year crackdown

DOMINIC FAULDER, Associate editor, Nikkei Asian Review | Philippines

CALOOCAN CITY, Philippines -- A pair of gleaming Harley Davidson motorbikes sit in the lobby of the upmarket Floresco Funeral Home, where President Rodrigo Duterte's 32-month drug cull has done little for business. Receptionist Marvin Darilag observes that it kills mostly poor people whose relatives cannot pay the tab.

Business is brisker not far off in Malabon City, at Eusebio Funeral Services. Orly Fernandez runs the operation for its owners, and has been handling corpses since 1975. In a windowless office beneath a sign confirming "autopsy is free of charge," Fernandez adjusts his baseball cap and professes support for the war on drugs. He hopes one day the Philippines will be rid of the scourge of shabu.

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