Philippines jails Canadian for life for selling ectasy

A crackdown on illegal drugs in the Philippines overseen by President Rodrigo Duterte has left more than 3,700 people dead since July (AFP Photo/Manman Dejeto)
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Manila (AFP) - A Canadian man has been jailed for life in the Philippines for selling 160 tablets of ecstasy, with his swift prosecution part of President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war, police said Thursday.

Jeremy Eaton, 34, was also ordered to pay a fine of 500,000 pesos ($10,000), after he was arrested in a raid in June in the financial district of Makati, police said.

They said Eaton's prosecution, done in just three months, was part of Duterte's aggressive campaign against illegal drugs. The crackdown has left more than 3,000 people dead and sparked global condemnation for alleged extrajudicial killings.

"The judiciary has expedited the prosecution of drug cases, and police are now more active so drug cases are really resolved quickly," Enrico Rigor, legal head of the national police's anti-illegal drugs group, told AFP.

Drug cases in the Philippines usually take several years to resolve, Rigor added.

Duterte, 71, won May elections in a landslide on a promise to eradicate the drug menace by killing tens of thousands of criminals to prevent the Philippines from becoming a narco-state.

He also vowed to restore the death penalty in the mainly Catholic nation.

Eaton had insisted on his innocence.

"I walked into the building, I was jumped from behind, told I'm arrested," he told reporters shortly after his arrest.

"I was searched. I had nothing on my body. I never had anything. I think I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."

The court decision, dated August 31, said his denial could "easily be concocted and is a common and standard defense ploy".

Eaton was arrested along with Australian Damian Berg, who also denied selling ecstasy but whose case is ongoing.

Eaton's conviction was announced in the same week police arrested two local celebrities for allegedly possessing and selling drugs.

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