MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday, September 15, defended President Rodrigo Duterte from allegations made at a Senate inquiry that the Chief Executive had ordered people killed during his time as Davao City mayor.
Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said in a news briefing that he does not think the President is capable of ordering murder.
“No, I don’t think he’s capable of giving a directive like that. Why? Wasn’t it investigated before by the Commission on Human Rights? There was no charge; they didn’t see any connection,” Andanar said in a mix of English and Filipino.
Andanar’s news conference coincided with a Senate hearing into extrajudicial killings where Edgar Matobato, who claimed to be a former member of the Davao Death Squad, testified that Duterte had allegedly ordered the killings of suspected criminals, people associated to his political enemies, and journalist Jun Pala when he was Davao City mayor.
Andanar said Malacañang would only respond to the witness’ allegations at the end of the Senate investigation, and would consult with Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II in crafting a statement.
“Let’s wait first for the entire statement of the witness in the Senate and I will also consult with the DOJ Secretary. Hindi tayo sasagot nang basta-basta. Sasagot tayo ng komprehensibo. Tapusin natin ‘yung hearing para at least isang sagot lang,” said Andanar.
(We won’t answer right away. We will give a comprehensive answer. Let’s finish the hearing so we can give just one answer.)
Duterte has denied ever ordering any extrajudicial killing as Davao City mayor, even as he boasted of killing thousands of criminals.
He also claimed the term “Davao Death Squad” was invented by his political rivals in Davao City. – Rappler.com
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