No need to look far to probe Duterte executions, says HRW


Human Rights Watch has documented 28 cases of Davao killings

MANILA – International non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged government agencies to seriously look into Davao City Mayor and presidential aspirant Rodrigo Duterte's admissions that he has killed alleged criminals.

Carlos Conde, HRW's Researcher for Asia Division, said there are documented cases of extra-judicial killngs perpetrated by the Davao Death Squad (DDS) to which Duterte is being linked.

"There is reasonable ground to investigate him not only on his claims but also documented cases that Human Rights Watch itself published in 2009,'' Conde said.

READ: Probe Duterte over death squad links - group

In the report entitled" Philippines: Dismantle 'Davao Death Squad','' Conde said HRW investigated 28 cases of apparently targeted killings.

The number of victims of targeted killings in Davao City steadily increased in the past decade. From two reported cases in 1998, the number rose to 98 in 2003, and 124 in 2008. In 2009, 33 targeted killings were reported in January alone.

Also, the HRW report stated that "from a 3-digit crime rate per 10,000 people in 1985, Davao has reached an almost Utopian environment with a monthly crime volume of 0.8 cases per 10,000 persons from 1999 up to 2005. Digging through the records, it would reveal that about 90% of these cases reported are petty crimes that do not in any way threaten the over-all peace and order condition of the city.‪‪‪"‬‬‬

‪‪‪Conde said they were glad to know that the Commission on Human Rights will be investigating Duterte. He said it would be hard to imagine a confessed killer win as president.

"Nakakalungkot tingnan na yung tatakbong presidente ay may kinalaman sa mga ganito, at nagiging mas popular siya dahil dito, nakakalungkot hindi lang sa public safety but for rule of law and democracy".‬‬‬

‪‪‪HRW, however, admitted that there are indeed problems in the country's peace and order situation. But Conde said resolving such issues should be within the bounds of the law. ‬‬‬

‪‪‪"Meron naman talagang problema sa peace and order ng Pilipinas, maraming hindi nasosolve, hindi nabibigyan ng hustisya. Pero hindi ito nasosolve ng mas marami pang krimen na gagawin ninoman, ni Duterte o nang Davao Death Squad" Conde said. ‬‬

‪‪‪"Ang solusyon dito ay ayusin ang rule of law. Hindi pwedeng dahil may problema tayong ganito ang gugustuhin natin ay mas marami pang patayan na mangyayari. Hindi tayo uunlad bilang bayan.''

In an interview on radio dzMM's "Ikaw Na Ba? Para Sa Pamilyang Pilipino" last week, Duterte admitted that he has actively participated in the execution of several criminals in his city ever since he was elected mayor.

He said he was just three months into his first term as mayor in 1988 when the suspects kidnapped a girl and brought her to a neighboring province where they repeatedly raped her, before they went back to Davao City supposedly to get the ransom money from the victim's family.

Duterte, accompanied by three men, said that after he was assured that the victim had already been safely secured, he did not think twice about shooting the kidnappers, who, he said, were holding carbines.

‪‪‪Conde said HRW believes that the next president of the country should not just be brave but someone who follows the law.

‪‪‪"Ang sukatan ng maayos at magaling na leader ay hindi yung pag may problema, baril ang huhugutin mo," he said. ''Ang pagiging maayos ng isang leader ay kung paano mo sosolusyonan ang problema ng bayan ng naayon sa rule of law, naayos sa batas.''

‪‪‪Conde hopes that voters will be more discerning in choosing the country's next leaders.

"Sana ang mga botante pag-aralan pa si Duterte at pag-aralan din ng maayos yung iba pang lugar na nagagawa naman yung dapat gawin tungkol sa krimen na hindi naman kailangang pumatay ng mga bata o mga suspected na tao kahit hindi pa nacoconvict ng korte" he said.