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Cayetano doubts BBC story on hired killer of drug dealers

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, one of the staunchest allies of President Rodrigo Duterte, expressed doubts on an international news report about a woman allegedly hired by the police to kill drug pushers and users in the Philippines.

International news agency BBC shared the story of Maria, not her real name, who carries out contract killings as part of the government-sanctioned war on drugs. 

Cayetano, however, is unconvinced. With more than a million people wanting the Duterte administration to fail, it is possible that the news item is fabricated, he claimed.

“Naturally. I mean there are one thousand and one, a million people, who would like that story to be true, or would offer a fake [story] to discredit the anti-drugs war, and the drug lords will do that,” Cayetano told reporters on Wednesday, August 31.

Kaya kung totoong sa droga lang, bakit mo kailangan lagyan ng cardboard sa ibabaw ng drug lord, 'di ba? (If that is really drug-related, why do you have to put a cardboard on the drug lord, right?) So you know, you have to think there’s an interplay of interests,” he added.

Cayetano said the reporter should be appointed to the National Bureau of Investigation for finding a rare assassin who would choose to reveal herself.

“'Yung nakakuha ng ganung report, dapat 'yun ang gawin nating NBI natin or maging head ng imbestigasyon, kasi napakagaling naman na sa 100 million Filipinos, makakahanap ka ng aamin na sila ang gun for hire at ituturo pa ang PNP (Philippine National Police),” he said.

(The one who got the report, he should be appointed head of the National Bureau of Investigation because he was so good to find a gun for hire, out of 100 million Filipinos, who would reveal herself and would even pinpoint the PNP.)

The BBC reported how Maria and her husband, who live with their children in the slums of Manila, landed in such job.

She recounted the time when her husband “was commissioned to kill a debtor by a policeman – one who was also a drug pusher.”

"My husband was ordered to kill people who had not paid what they owed."

"One time, they needed a woman...my husband tapped me to do the job. When I saw the man I was supposed to kill, I got near him and I shot him."

He then asked the media to be “cautious” so as not to be used by parties that want the government to fail.

Thinking aloud, Cayetano said it is a mystery to him how a gun for hire would want to reveal herself to anyone.

“Ako, lahat ng report, hindi ko binabalewala, dapat pa rin imbestigahan, pero mahiwaga lang sa 'kin kung, unang-una, mga gun for hire, hindi basta-basta umaamin. So we have to be cautious din na magpagamit. I'm not saying it’s not true, but napakagaling. If it is true, dapat ang mag-head ng investigation ay 'yung nakakuha nito,” he said.

(I'm not ignoring these reports, as there should still be an investigation. But it is a mystery to me that, first of all, gunmen for hire don't easily admit their roles. So we have to be cautious that we are not used. I'm not saying it's not true, but he is really good. If it is true, he should head the investigation team.)

Despite this, Cayetano admitted the country needs both local and international help to address the “huge” problem of illegal drugs. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com

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