Headlines Skinning Left, pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
Headlines ( Leaderboard Top ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

Int'l group wants probe into Duterte, 'death squad'

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo publicly promotes killing of criminal suspects as an effective crime-fighting strategy, an international organization says. Davao OCIO/File

MANILA, Philippines — An international human rights organization urged an investigation into the alleged "death squad" links of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

New York-based Human Rights Watch on Tuesday said the Philippines should not tolerate any government official who publicly endorses extrajudicial killings as a form of crime control.

"Duterte has continued to espouse the killing of criminal suspects to combat crime in a city that has long had high numbers of apparent 'death squad' killings—more than 1,000 since the late 1990s," the Human Rights Watch report noted.

Over the past six months, Duterte has been on speaking tours across the country endorsing the killing of criminal suspects as as effective crime control technique.

The Davao City mayor also takes pride of his city being among the safest cities in the world.

"We're the ninth safest city. How do you think I did it? How did I reach that title among the world's safest cities? Kill them all," Duterte said in a speech last week.

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director Phelim Kine reiterated that Duterte's public support for extrajudicial killings of suspected criminals calls for an investigation into his role in these deaths.

"The long official tolerance of Duterte's advocacy of summary killings as effective crime-fighting strategy needs to stop. The government should send an unambiguous message to Duterte and other officials that support for extrajudicial killings results in an investigation—not in speaking tours," Kine said.

According to the Human Rights Watch report, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has already launched an investigation into the Davao mayor's hand in the 2009 death squad killings in Mindanao.

Police and local government officials were reported to be involved in the targeted killings of alleged drug dealers and petty criminals, street children and others.

In 2012, the CHR recommended to the Office of the Ombudsman to file murder charges against Duterte but the investigation was limited to police officers involved in the killings.

A number of 21 police officers were found guilty and were fined an amount equivalent to a month's salary.

The Ombudsman has not yet looked into the role of Duterte in the Davao death squad.

"Duterte has a long history of inflammatory public statements that would seem to encourage the extrajudicial killing of suspected criminals. He has commanded his police officers to 'shoot to kill' people ranging from suspected criminals to rice smugglers," Human Rights Watch said.

The report also noted that the Davao City model of extrajudicial killings as a crime-fighting strategy had spread to other cities in the country such as Cebu City, Toledo and Carcar.

Rumors have been circulating that Duterte is eyeing the presidency in 2016 but the the Davao City mayor has denied such claims.

RELATED: Running for President?: Duterte denies yet continues hinting

Headlines ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1
  • Follow Us:
Healines Skinning Right, pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1