Retired officer links Duterte to almost 200 killings

Al Jazeera

Philippine officer admits to killing 300 people, about 200 as a member of a ‘Davao death squad’.retired Philippine police officer has linked President Rodrigo Duterte – during his time as a mayor  of Davao – and his men to nearly 200 killings that the officer and other members of a “death squad” allegedly carried out.

Arturo Lascanas made the allegations at the start of a nationally televised Senate inquiry on Monday after he admitted to lying in October during another Senate inquiry into alleged extrajudicial killings linked to Duterte.

Lascanas said that he had personally killed 300 people, about 200 as a member of a “Davao death squad”, with his last in 2015. He also detailed two cases where he had murdered critics of Duterte, under the instruction of the then-mayor’s bodyguard.

Lascanas, who broke down in tears before the media when he revealed his story two weeks ago, is the second person to testify before politicians to Duterte’s alleged links to a clandestine hit squad.

“I feared for the life of my loved ones,” Lascanas said when asked why he had earlier denied the death squad existed.

He said he changed testimony because he was tormented by what he had done and wanted the truth to “set me free”.

It was “because of my desire to tell all the truth, not only because of my spiritual renewal, but the fear of God, I wanted to clear my conscience”, he said.

Duterte’s allies dismissed the claims as a plot by his opponents to discredit the president and his war on drugs, a campaign that critics say has disturbing similarities to a pattern of mysterious killings in Davao.

Duterte’s spokesman, Ernesto Abella, described Lascanas as a “polluted source and perjured witness”.

READ MORE: Children and Duterte’s drug war – Lessons from the past

Abella called Lascanas’ testimony “fabricated and unacceptable”.

Duterte has repeatedly denied involvement in summary executions, either as president or during his 22 years as Davao mayor.

His police chief Ronald dela Rosa, a former Davao police chief, has dismissed the death squad claims as a myth created by the media.

Human rights groups have documented about 1,400 suspicious killings in Davao while Duterte was mayor and critics say the war on drugs he unleashed as president has the same hallmarks. Numerous investigations have found no proof linking Duterte to those deaths.

More than 6,000 people have been killed in Duterte’s war on drugs since he took over as president on June 30 last year.

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Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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This entry was posted in Extra-judicial killing - Giết người không tòa án, Human rights - Nhân quyền, Philippines and tagged , , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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