Opinion

Re: Extra-judicial killings in the Philippines

When I was a kid, my parents used to talk about Mayor Duterte. They say that crime doesn’t flourish in Davao because of the so called “vigilantes”. As a kid with no concept of the law of the land and it’s consequences, I was fascinated by it. For me, crime in any form has to be stopped from the onset and if only criminals are killed then I’m up for it. Good riddance, I say.

My uncle died in the hands of the NPA (New People’s Army), my father told me. He said that my uncle Roberto was a crook and gets along with fellow crooks. The NPA killed him, vigilante-style.

Mayor Duterte after being the mayor of Davao for two decades ended being the 16th President of the Philippines. During the campaign, he’s rivals attacked him using the still ongoing extra-judicial killing cases in Davao. His most fervent adversary, Senator Leila de Lima, presented “witnesses” to prove the president’s guilt. Although Matobato was proven to be an inadequate witness, another witness in the name of Arturo Lascañas, a retired Davao policeman, confessed on February that he was, as a matter of fact, a member of the Davao Death Squad (the squad organized by the then mayor now president Duterte). Take note that he denied the existence of Davao Death Squad back in 2016’s Senate probe. The same probe cleared the president of extra-judicial killings and his involvement in the Davao Death Squad.

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I believe the Davao Death Squad exists but we don’t live in the days where people are thrown to  a lake to prove their innocence. We have laws and the law states that “Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense.” No one is exempted of this. Therefore, the president is still innocent until proven guilty.

As for Lascañas, he has the right to retract his confessions but the credibility of his confessions suffer. If he can provide a tangible evidence, manage to convince those people involved in the DDS, and present a solid case against Duterte only then can they bring him down.

Until then, Duterte remains a force to be reckoned with.


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