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Philippine News Digest 147

February 2, 2006 · 

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Contents:

  • Mayor to CHR: Probe Davao Death Squad
  • Police investigate summary killings in Metro Manila
  • Killing by Davao death squads continues, priest laments

Mayor to CHR: Probe Davao Death Squad
SUN STAR DAVAO, By Ben O. Tesiorna
Wednesday, February 4, 2009

DAVAO City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte urges the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to conduct a public and transparent investigation on the alleged vigilante killings in his city.

Duterte said he is willing to cooperate in such investigation and dared anyone who knew and can show proof that the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS) or the “vigilante groups” really exist.

The mayor said he has met with CHR Commissioner Leila Delima last week and discussed with her the alleged summary executions of hardened criminals in the city.

Duterte vehemently denied any hand in the killings but said he has told Delima of his desire to kill the bad elements spreading criminalities in this southern Philippine city.

He said he has long been vocal of his stance to rid Davao City with criminal elements.

“Magpapatay ako ng tao, tama yun. Sinasabi ko sa TV na papatayin sila [criminals]. It’s better to intimidate and threaten them and hope that they will reform rather than keep silent and kill them,” Duterte said.

The summary executions in the city have long been attributed by some sectors to Duterte, who is taking charge of the city’s strong peace and order campaign.

The DSS was said to be created by Duterte to run after hardened criminals, especially those engaged in illegal drug-trade. He, however, denied the claims.

The mayor said he wants the CHR to conduct an investigation as soon as possible to put closure on the issue once and for all.

Police investigate summary killings in Metro Manila
THE MANILA TIMES, Tuesday, February 03, 2009
BY Nemelou Despuez, Reporter And Ira Karen Apanay, Senior Reporter

Few days ago, five bodies believed to be victims of summary execution were recovered in different parts of Metro Manila. On Friday, another body was found in an empty lot in in Las Piñas City.

Authorities said the security guard of Mustang Security Agency found the body of an unidentified man at around 7:20 a.m. in a grassy area along Daang Reyna in Almaza Dos, Las Piñas City.

It was the sixth victim of summary execution reported in just one week.

Authorities believe the victim was tortured before the perpetrators shot him in the back of his head. According to SPO1 Crisando Calatay, the victim¹s body was bruised all over, and his hands and feet bore marks that showed a piece of wire was used to tie up the victim.

The Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Leila de Lima cited three cases of vigilante killings, which include an incident in Quiapo, Manila, where a man identified as Darwin Pajarillo, 29, a fruit vendor from Sampaloc, Manila, was found inside a wooden crate left at Quezon Bridge.

Written on the lid of the box was a message that the victim was a thief.

In another incident, two male corpses were found hogtied along a sidewalk in Mindanao Avenue, Quezon City.

“The two males bore multiple puncture wounds from what appeared to be inflicted using an ice pick. They also bore gashes around their necks, indicating that they may have been tortured and strangled as well” de Lima said.

The Commission strongly condemned the series of vigilante killings and street-justice in various parts of Metro Manila and has called on authorities to take preventive measures against these forms of crimes.

“The importance of abiding by the rule of law is found precisely in the protections that the law provides to all persons, whether law-abiding or criminal. The right to life and due process are firmly enshrined in law, and the law is applicable to everyone,” de Lima said.

Since President Gloria Arroyo has lifted the death penalty in the country, de Lima said “the State itself is prohibited from taking life, more so are private citizens from carrying out the same.”

On Monday, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) Director Leopoldo Bataoil said he had ordered the District Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit to coordinate with other agencies and the families of the six victims to gather information that would help them solve the case.

The investigation is part of a larger probe ordered by Bataoil into the increasing number of summary executions in different areas of Metro Manila.

“Despite accusations and cases hurled against the victims, it is not right to put the law into your own hands” he said to assure the public and families of the victims that the authorities are doing everything that they can to stop the killings.

Bataoil also encouraged witnesses to surface and help shed light on the cases. “Those who are responsible to the crimes will not go unpunished. So, do not be afraid and please help us to capture the killers,” he said.

He said he is ready to provide protection for anyone who could provide vital information that would lead to the arrest of the suspects.

Meanwhile, de Lima said that even in Davao vigilante killings are again on the rise.

“The esoteric Davao Death Squad remains beyond the ambit of local law enforcement. Many suspected criminals, including drug-pushers, thieves and robbers have been the target of these vigilante killings,” she said.

To prevent further occurrence of vigilante-style killings, cases like these “must be successfully investigated and prosecuted, leading to convictions meted out against perpetrator . . . it is gravely important that these cases be solved, not merely to attain justice for those killed, but to preserve the rule of law and the protection that every person derives from the law,” de Lima said

Killing by Davao death squads continues, priest laments
GMA NEWS.TV
Jan. 24, 2009 | 09:48 AM

MANILA, Philippines ‹ The killings conducted by the so-called Davao Death Squads have worsened even after the visit of United Nations rapporteur Philip Alston, a Mindanao-based peace advocate lamented.

Redemptorist priest Amado Picardal made the assessment after Alston inquired from Philippine groups if his recommendations to stop extra-judicial killings had been acted upon.

“We all agreed that the situation has worsened. Last year, there were
269 victims of the Davao Death Squads (DDS). It seems that during the first three weeks of this month, 29 people were killed Š (Earlier January), two bodies were found somewhere in Maa.

“There is no public outcry against these killings. Many think that these are justified. After all, the victims were suspected petty criminals – juvenile delinquents, addicts, drug-pushers, thieves. They were just meted the death penalty by those who have become judge, jury, executioner. What is even alarming is that this type of killing is expanding to other cities in the country,” Picardal said in his web log (amadopicardal.blogspot.com).

He made the observation at a meeting of the Council of Leaders of the Coalition Against Summary Execution (CASE), with lawyers from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG).

Picardal said that while they have kept denouncing these killings over the years, “it seems that we have failed to stop them.”

“We have been reduced to counting the victims of the DDS. What is more frustrating is that the government, both national and local, have not done anything to investigate these killings. It makes us wonder if they are being tolerated, sanctioned or even inspired by the powers that be. After all, a top local government executive was quoted in the newspapers as saying: the death penalty was never been lifted in Davao,” he said.

He said all they can do for now is to continue raising their voices against these killings.

This is another manifestation of the culture of death that pervades in the land, he lamented.

“I hope that someday, those responsible for these killings will face God’s judgment – in this life or the next,” he said. – GMANews.TV

Web Journal of Fr. Amado Picardal, CSSR
Diary of a Filipino Catholic Redemptorist Priest based in Mindanao
Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Davao Death Squads: The Killing Continues

This afternoon at five pm, I attended the meeting of the Council of Leaders of the Coalition Against Summary Execution (CASE). Among them were two lawyers who are also heads of the IBP (Integrated Bar of the Philippines) and the FLAG (Free Legal Assistance Group). There were also those coming from NGOs.

We discussed the latest communication from the office of Mr. Allston, the UN rapporteur, who conducted an investigation of the extra-judicial killings in the Philippines. We were asked whether the recommendations made by Allston were acted on by the government, especially those pertaining to the death squads.

We all agreed that the situation has worsened. Last year, there were 269 victims of the DDS. It seems that during the first three weeks of this month, 29 people were killed by the Davao Death Squad (DDS). Yesterday, two dead bodies were found somewhere in Maa. There is no public outcry against these killings. Many think that these are justified. After all, the victims were suspected petty criminals – juvenile delinquents, addicts, drug-pushers, thieves. They were just meted the death penalty by those who have become judge, jury, executioner. What is even alarming is that this type of killing is expanding to other cities in the country.

We have kept on denouncing these killings over the years and it seems that we have failed to stop them. We have been reduced to counting the victims of the DDS. What is more frustrating is that the government, both national and local, have not done anything to investigate these killings. It makes us wonder if they are being tolerated, sanctioned or even inspired by the powers that be. After all, a top local government executive was quoted in the newspapers as saying: the death penalty was never been lifted in Davao.

All we can do is to keep on raising our voices against these killings. I guess, this is another manifestation of the culture of death the pervades in our land. I hope that someday, those responsible for these killings will face God’s judgment – in this life or the next.

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