'Totoy', the hitman: From 'kodaker' to killer
MANILA, Philippines – Seventeen years ago, Rolly Daligdig alias "Totoy" started working as a kodaker (photographer) of the Dipolog City police. He was tasked to document mainly accidents in the Zamboanga del Norte capital.
Daligdig found himself taking a different path in May 2009, after Dipolog City police chief Reynaldo Maclang allegedly called him up to his office and asked a question that would change his life.
"Totoy, kaya mo bang pumatay ng tao (can you kill a person)?" the police chief asked him.
"Kaya (I can), Sir," Daligdig recalled telling Maclang without any hesitation.
That same night, Daligdig joined Maclang and two other policemen. They brought detained pickpockets Panilo Zosobrado and Edwin Estrada to Sapangdalaga town in Misamis Occidental, riding a Safari SUV allegedly owned by Zamboanga del Norte Governor Roberto Uy. Maclang was behind the wheel.
Upon arriving in a remote place in Sapangdalaga, Zosobrado bolted the vehicle. Maclang shot him, then asked Daligdig to make sure the victim was dead. "I approached Zosobrado. I immediately shot Zosobrado at the back twice," Daligdig said.
Maclang pointed his pistol at the forehead of Estrada, who was held by the two policemen, but the police chief's pistol jammed. Maclang then ordered Daligdlig, "Totoy, banatan mo (shoot him)!" Using a .45 caliber pistol issued to him by Maclang, Daligdig shot Estrada on the head and twice on the back.
"That was the first time I killed a person," Daligdig said. Maclang tried to assuage his guilt and told him: "Huwag kang matakot sa ginagawa natin, Totoy. Masama silang tao (Don't be afraid of what we're doing, Totoy. They're bad people)."
Since then, Daligdig claimed, he became part of the operations of Team DAVID (Deployment Against Vices in Dipolog) as one of the executioners of rival drug pushers and supporters of the political rivals of the Uy family. Governor Uy has denied the allegations. (READ: Hitman tags cops, Uy family in Zamboanga del Norte drug trade, killings)
Testifying at the hearing of the House committee on dangerous drugs on Thursday, February 9, Daligdig admitted to having already killed at least 12 people.
Asked why killing people seemed easy for him, Daligdig said he was afraid at first but got used to it.
"Wala na dayon ko nahadlok mopatay kay naa may polis sa akong likod, ingon si Maclang para sa bayan ni (I was no longer afraid to kill because I know the police are watching my back. Maclang said we were doing it for the country)," Daligdig said.
At the congressional inquiry, Daligdig said he decided to speak out to protect himself. This was after his fellow hitman, Crisanto Gulang, and his live-in partner, Jeanette Acevedo, were killed on November 21, 2016. Gulang and Acevedo also used to work with the disbanded Team DAVID.
Daligdig is now under the justice department's Witness Protection Program.
In the past 6 years, there were unsolved killings in Dipolog and the municipalities of Sindangan and Polanco, prompting Bishop Severo Caermare to issue a pastoral letter in February 2015, condemning the "extrajudicial killings."
The police have been quiet on the killings, but sources from the Dipolog Diocese said the number of extrajudicial killings in those areas could easily reach 200. – Rappler.com