Int'l watchdog wants Duterte probed
MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III should heed the Commission on Human Rights' (CHR) recommendation to probe Davao Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for his possible involvement in local death squad killings, an international watchdog said Friday, August 17.
In a statement, the group Human Rights Watch (HRW) affirmed a recent CHR resolution on the so-called Davao Death Squad that led to over 200 local killings from 2005 to 2009.
The CHR on Tuesday, August 14, said the Ombudsman should investigate Duterte, then Davao City mayor, “for his inaction in the face of evidence of numerous killings committed in Davao City and his toleration of the commission of those offenses.”
It also recommended government investigation into the Davao Death Squad killings.
“The Commission on Human Rights’ Davao Death Squad statement is an important opportunity for the Aquino administration to show that it is serious about holding officials accountable for the worst abuses,” said HRW Asia director Brad Adams. “The government should promptly implement these recommendations.”
HRW added that based on recent research, death squad killings prevail in Davao City “although on a much smaller scale.” The local government, on the other hand, “takes pride” in the relative peace in their city.
Davao City officials should not be spared, HRW said.
“By holding Davao City officials accountable for their failure to prevent and investigate the killings, the Aquino administration can stop the spread of these atrocities to other parts of the country,” said Adams. “This would be a concrete way to help families of victims obtain justice and show that its rhetoric on ending impunity is meaningful to ordinary Filipinos.”
So far, the Office of the Ombudsman has punished 21 police officers over vigilante killings by the Davao Death Squad. Last March, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales approved a decision that found the officers guilty of simple neglect of duty, and slapped them with penalties ranging from a one-month suspension to a fine equivalent to a month's salary.
Meanwhile, the CHR has kept a critical stance on Duterte's style of managing the city. CHR chair Loretta Ann “Etta” Rosales, for example, condemned Duterte for forcing an accused swindler to eat his counterfeit documents.
Duterte's daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, has also received criticism for her management style. In 2011, for example, she drew flak for punching a a court sheriff who disobeyed her orders during a demolition.
The mayor told Rappler it's the wrong kind of fame. (Watch more in the video below)