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Duterte’s Drug War Claims Highest Profile Murder Yet: UK Lord’s Daughter

REUTERS/Czar Dancel

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter

The daughter of a deceased British lord was gunned down in the Philippines last week, making her the highest profile casualty in Duterte’s drug war.

Maria Aurora Moynihan, the daughter of the third Baron Moynihan and the sister of British-Filipino actress Maritoni Fernandez, was found dead in Quezon City, Manila early on Sept. 11, reports CNN. A cardboard sign which read “drug pushers to celebrities, you’re next” was discovered beside her body.

Moynihan had been charged with possession and illegal drug use after she was caught with cannabis, crystal meth, and ecstasy in a buy-bust sting in Sta. Ana, Taguig in 2013, Quezon City Police Department Superintendent Guillermo Eleazor told reporters. She was not charged with dealing.

Her body was found with gunshot wounds to the chest, and there were bags of shabu, a type of methamphetamine, on her person. Messages found on Moynihan’s cellphone indicated that she was definitely involved in illegal drugs. Police are still investigating the details of her involvement.

The slain woman’s father, the late Antony Moynihan, relocated to the Philippines in the 1960s. He is said to have had ties to drug trafficking and prostitution rings during his stint in the Philippines.

The apple may not have fallen far from the tree. Before her death, Maria was reportedly a dealer of ecstasy and other party drugs to people in the entertainment industry, revealed the Asian Correspondent, activities which may have been a factor in her death.

Witnesses said that they saw a silver SUV pull up to the crime scene around 1:40 a.m. on the day of the murder. A few shots were fired inside the vehicle, and then Moynihan’s body was dumped by the road. Police have yet to identify any suspects.

Moynihan’s death is one of many in the ongoing drug war in the Philippines. Seven suspects were killed in separate busts in Manila Tuesday; another three were killed by vigilantes the same day.

After less than one hundred days in office, there have been over 3,000 deaths. The vast majority of these deaths have been vigilante, extrajudicial killings. Only around one-third of those killed in the drug war have been killed by police.

Filipino police are also conducting house-to-house searches. Police have already visited 1,077,582 houses in 18,814 operations, have arrested 18,064 drug-related criminals. Large numbers of persons have also surrendered to authorities, at 53,105 pushers and 662,594 users.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal war on drugs is taking drug-related criminals off the streets, but the bodies are stacking up.

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