Graphic by Nico Villarete
MANILA, Philippines – A key witness during a Senate probe into the rise of killings in the government's war on drugs said on Thursday, September 15, that President Rodrigo Duterte, then mayor of Davao City, ordered the killing of broadcaster Jun Pala in 2003.
Speaking under oath during Thursday's Senate probe, Edgar Matobato said that Duterte, through his supposed "right hand man," a certain Arthur Lascañas, ordered Pala killed because the Davao-based radio commentator had been criticizing Duterte repeatedly.
On September 6, 2003, Pala was gunned down by unknown men on a motorcycle in Davao City. He sustained 9 gunshot wounds, mostly on his chest and head, and was pronounced dead on arrival at the San Pedro Hospital. His murder remains unsolved.
Shortly after he won the May 2016 presidential race, Duterte said in press conference that journalists are legitimate targets of assassination "if you're a son of a bitch."