Meet the husband and wife assassin team, carrying out the Philippines’ drug war

Ace and Sheila are a married couple who say they are tasked with killing drug users and drug dealers for the Philippine police. Source: SBS Dateline

Ace and Sheila* are a married couple, who say they are tasked with killing drug users and drug dealers for the Philippine police. This is how they do their jobs, in their own words.


So our boss contacts us by phone and tells us we need to do a job on someone.

They might be ordinary people, but they’re all pretty much the same – drug pushers or crooks. Or they’ve crossed our boss. We bring down those types of people.

Just with a phone call we get the person’s identification, we’ll just base it on that. Then, if we find the person on their own, we go in immediately and kill him. And then get away.

We get told to kill them, because the boss is a well-known policeman. The moment I’m given a photo, it automatically becomes a job for us [to do]. The job is drug-related.

From the beginning, when I started this, I knew it was really risky. But if I don’t do it, there’s an even greater risk that I won’t be able to feed my family. Because I can’t do any other work.

It’s better that I just continue with our operation. If I say no, my boss might get back at me, take revenge. I might be killed, so I just follow orders.

Sheila comes in when we need her to, when we’re not able to get close to our target. Then she does the job. She’s able to get much closer because she’s a woman.


So I started working for them when they were having trouble with the target. They couldn’t get close to him. For almost a week they couldn’t finish the job. So the boss was getting angry.

So my husband had an idea that I get involved, and try to do the hit, and I was able to do it.

Sometimes I pretend to be working as a dancer in a club, as a GRO [Guest Relations Officer]. But it also depends on the target, if they’re fond of going to bars, for example. So when we’re given the identification, it depends on what their habits are. That’s my role.

If they’re having trouble with the hit, that’s when I come in.

How do you kill targets?

By gun. That’s how it’s done. When we’re given the identification, we don’t ask questions. The first rule in our group is “Don’t ask questions.”

"I tell myself that the person I’ve killed is a much worse person."

When we get the identification, we study it for a day, then the thing is that the job should be done within three days’ time. You should finish the hit within three days. So as soon as we get the identification we study it, then next day, we get moving. Generally by gun. If we get close to the person, or we spot them, and when we get the chance, we shoot them.

We don’t just shoot them once. We don’t leave them with just one shot. We make sure they’re dead. When we get the chance, we put the card with the word ‘pusher’ on them.

Because the media picks it up when the card is on the target. We put the card so it attracts the media, and that’s our proof to our boss that the job is done.

I think our group has done a quarter of the 2,800 killings. And the rest have been done by the other groups.

Our group has its own boss. The other groups have their own bosses that they take orders from. So our group’s done a quarter of the killings. But the police order a lot more of the killings than they actually do themselves.

Of course I feel guilty. Probably, after doing the job, it weighs on your conscience, especially when you go home. Because after the job we go our separate ways, that’s it. When you go home, you see your kids, and feel guilty.

But I tell myself that the person I’ve killed is a much worse person. Many lives will be ruined if he is not killed. So he must die, and that’s not my fault. I’ve done nothing wrong. If he weren’t a bad person he wouldn’t have been in that situation.

If I stop doing this, the situation will be reversed, we’ll be the ones to be targeted. So we really hope that the job is finished. And once it’s done, there’s no more to be done, and we go our separate ways.

So to say “I don’t want this anymore. I’m not doing this anymore”, that’s not possible. Because if I do, my boss will think, “why do you want to quit? Are you planning something?” Then he’ll tell someone “This person is quitting. He’s got plans, he’s going to talk. Get rid of him.”

That’s the only thing we pray for until all the jobs are finished. When this finishes, there’ll be no more work. We’ll be on our own, we’ll be out of this.

I think it’s good that the users are disappearing, but it would be better if the big time dealers were gotten rid of. But for us it’s work. When there’s work there’s money.

*Not their real names.