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‘Duterte may face raps over death squad link’

May 26, 2015 ·  By www.preda.org

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Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte Davao OCIO/File

MANILA, Philippines – Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte may face charges for admitting his links to a death squad, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said yesterday.

“If he admitted that he is responsible for these killings, then he must be criminally liable,” De Lima told journalists in an ambush interview.

De Lima said Duterte’s admission of his links with the Davao Death Squad, believed to be behind the killings of suspected criminals, might send a wrong signal to the international human rights community.

“If we would agree with such a view, international organizations like Human Rights Watch will mock us. Some of us are happy and idolize Mayor Duterte. But it’s not right,” she said.

The justice chief said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is looking into reports about the Davao Death Squad after a witness surfaced.

She clarified that the NBI probe has been going on for months and has nothing to do with Duterte being a popular candidate for the presidency in 2016.

She said the witness is covered by the witness protection program of the government.

CHR: No room for death squads

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said the government should not condone the death squads to address crime in the country.

CHR officer-in-charge Marc Titus Cebreros said they would look into reports that Duterte admitted his connections with the Davao Death Squad.

“If it is an admission by the mayor, it establishes a direct link between him and the Davao Death Squad and that should to be taken seriously,” Cebreros said.

The official said the Davao Death Squad has spawned copycat activities in other cities in Min-danao and even in Luzon.

The CHR, which earlier figured in dispute with Duterte over alleged human rights violations, is open to a dialogue with the mayor, Cebreros said. – With Janvic Mateo

Read Related Story :Duterte to rights group: You are all hypocrites

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