Davao Death Squad

Now retired, top cop Alden Delvo leaves Davao Death Squad allegations unanswered

Jodesz Gavilan

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Now retired, top cop Alden Delvo leaves Davao Death Squad allegations unanswered
Former Davao region police chief Alden Delvo’s name is mentioned 46 times in the affidavit submitted by former cop and self-confessed Davao Death Squad hitman Arturo Lascañas to the International Criminal Court

All eyes are on the Davao region police as they seek to implement the numerous arrest warrants issued against doomsday preacher Apollo Quiboloy of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (KOJC). 

At the top of the regional police hierarchy is Brigadier General Alden Delvo, who celebrated his 56th birthday on Thursday, April 25. He shares the same birthday with the fugitive Quiboloy.

A report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted him as saying that he spent several birthdays at the KOJC instead of his home. But he assured the public that the police are doing their best to arrest Quiboloy, who is the subject of arrest warrants from Davao City and Pasig City courts, on top of a Senate arrest order. He is also on the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s most-wanted list for sex trafficking of children, among other allegations.

Delvo warned: “Those who could be coddling the pastor, whether they be friends or, worse, members of the police or the military, we will file a case of obstruction for (sic) justice once we find out about it.” 

Delvo is now retired as he has reached the mandatory retirement age of 56 for Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel. He will not only leave office with Quiboloy still on the run, but also leave behind unanswered allegations from former cop and self-confessed Davao Death Squad (DDS) hitman Arturo Lascañas. 

The DDS is a notorious group accused of carrying out hundreds of killings upon the orders of then-Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who became president in 2016.

Delvo’s name was mentioned 46 times in the 186-page affidavit submitted by Lascañas to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as part of its investigation into killings under Duterte’s nationwide drug war and in Davao City. Rappler reported about the content of this affidavit in November 2021.

Rappler reached out to Delvo via phone calls, text messages, and Viber messages for comment on these allegations, but he has not replied. The Davao regional police’s public information office told Rappler on Thursday morning that it already forwarded our request to Delvo’s office. We will update this story as soon as we receive a reply.

Must Read

THE LASCAÑAS AFFIDAVIT | ‘I killed for Duterte’

THE LASCAÑAS AFFIDAVIT | ‘I killed for Duterte’
‘Embraced the evil one’s policy of killings’

Delvo, who was appointed regional director of the Davao region in March 2023 is part of the close network of Duterte and former Philippine National Police chief and now Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa. He served as close senior aide of Dela Rosa after working with him for many years in Davao City, before transferring to the PNP’s Directorate for Comptrollership. He also served as chief of the PNP’s Firearms and Explosives Office during the last months of the Duterte administration and headed the area police command in Eastern Mindanao.

Lascañas, who was a Davao cop for nearly 35 years, claimed that he first met Delvo when the latter was a young police inspector at the Davao City Police Office. Delvo, a member of Philippine National Police Academy Class of 1995, referred to Lascañas as “’Nong” or “Manong (elder) as a sign of respect. 

“He wanted to know the ‘unwritten law’ of police work, and wanted to learn the A to Z in the business of killing people,” Lascañas said in his affidavit. “He embraced the evil one’s policy of killings, and I am partly to blame.” 

Page, Text, Handwriting
AFFIDAVIT. An excerpt from self-confessed hitman Arturo Lascañas’ affidavit mentioning Davao region police chief Alden Delvo.

Lascañas detailed a system where Duterte supposedly freely ordered his men to kill individuals during his decades as Davao City mayor. Based on Rappler’s count, he narrated at least 100 killings linked to Duterte whom they codenamed “Superman.” 

Delvo was one of the 21 cops that the Office of the Ombudsman in 2012 found to be “guilty of simple neglect of duty.” They were suspended for a month or ordered to pay a fine equivalent to one month’s salary.

In his affidavit, Lascañas included Delvo’s name in his narration of at least four killings that occurred before Duterte became president. Delvo’s participation allegedly ranged from relaying kill orders to DDS members to being part of a surveillance team that followed targets. 

1. Relayed order to abduct a certain Sali Makdum

Lascañas alleged that Delvo was supposedly involved in the abduction and killing of a certain Sali Makdum sometime between 1999 and 2000. He claimed that this operation was ordered by Dela Rosa and approved by Duterte. 

“[Dela Rosa]…ordered me thru cellphone and personally thru then-Senior Inspectors Antonio Rivera and Alden Delvo…to erase/kill without a trace alias Makdum,” he said in his affidavit. 

Makdum also figured in the testimonies of another DDS whistleblower Edgar Matobato. In 2017, a regional trial court in Panabo City issued a warrant of arrest against Matobato over the kidnapping of Makdum.

Rappler reached out to Dela Rosa via message and his Senate office’s email on Thursday morning, April 25, but received no reply. He previously refused to comment on an earlier investigative series on the same Lascañas affidavit published by Rappler in November 2021.

In February 2024, when Lascañas resurfaced with more allegations after years of hiding, Dela Rosa said: “Sige, pabayaan mo lang siya mag-allege siya nang mag-allege. Basta malinis ang konsensiya ko, bahala siya sa buhay niya.” (Go ahead, let him allege all he wants. My conscience is clear, he can do whatever he wants.)

2. Allegedly led team that abducted and killed two suspected extortionists

Delvo was allegedly part of a team of Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) operatives involved in the abduction and eventual killing of two Muslim individuals, whom they claimed were “suspected extortionists.” 

The abduction allegedly happened in Mati, Davao Oriental, in 2003 using three vehicles. Lascañas said that it was Delvo’s team of young personnel “who led the action.”  

The team then “blindfolded, gagged, and hogtied” the two victims, brought them back to Laud Quarry in Davao City after Dela Rosa allegedly ordered to “immediately neutralize them without the benefit of tactical interrogation.” 

3. Allegedly involved in killing of person who reportedly plotted to assassinate Duterte

Lascañas said that sometime in 2003, Delvo called for a confidential meeting where they were told about an operation “against a high risk personality, who was allegedly planning to assassinate Duterte.” He said that this “intelligence information” was from Delvo, Dela Rosa, and Sonny Buenaventura, who Lascañas described as a close bodyguard of the then-city mayor.

“[Delvo] would be the one to call and instruct us on our role as stand-by, back-up police elements,” Lascañas said. 

Delvo ended up calling days after, Lascañas claimed, and “asked for [Lascañas]’ location because he badly needed back-up elements and assistance.” But the Davao cop said he was too far away, so he would ask another DDS hitman to follow instead. 

It was only after that Lascañas discovered that the man believed to be plotting the supposed assassination of Duterte, and who was the DDS’ target, was then-Monkayo mayor Joel Brillantes. The hitman, Delvo told Lascañas in a phone conversation, was a dismissed Davao City policeman, who was eventually killed by the DDS.

A Philippine Star report in 2003 confirmed the assassination of Brillantes, quoting police as saying they believed it was an “offshoot of the ongoing mining row at Mt. Diwalwal.” But the suspect in the assassination of Brillantes was identified as a “barangay tanod” who, according to the report, was killed by the mayor’s bodyguard.

4. Allegedly involved in the death of former cop 

Former cop Allan Estrada, who was facing kidnap-for-ransom charges, was killed by police in a shootout in August 2007. He was one of the most wanted individuals in the Philippines, according to a Philippine Star report.  

But Lascañas said that Estrada “did not resist the arrest.” Instead, Duterte “handed [Lascañas] a handgun to plant it on [Estrada]’s body as evidence.” 

“Because of this ‘accomplishment,’ [Delvo] was awarded with a ‘spot promotion’ to the rank of Police Lt. Colonel,” Lascañas said in his affidavit. 

In 2009, Delvo was one of the awardees in the Search for the Country’s Outstanding Policemen in Service, an award-giving body organized by Metrobank Foundation, PSBank, and the Rotary Club of New Manila East, according to a Philippine Star report

Officer, Person, Police Officer
OATH. Alden Delvo takes oath before then-PNP chief Ronald dela Rosa in July 2016. Metrobank Foundation Outstanding Filipinos – PNP FB Fanpage
From Davao to nationwide campaign

When Duterte was sworn into the presidency in 2016, he brought with him from Davao City not just his men, but also the violence, turning his local anti-crime efforts into a nationwide affair. 

He waged a bloody anti-illegal drug campaign that led to more than 6,000 people killed in police operations alone, as of May 2022. The death toll could reach 30,000 to include victims of vigilante-style killings, according to estimates by human rights groups. 

But it was not only the war on drugs that Duterte expanded, but also the DDS system. 

Delvo, who was then already installed as senior aide to Dela Rosa in Camp Crame, allegedly offered Lascañas a “buena mano” contract, asking him to kill suspected drug lord Melvin Odicta. It meant a P10-million reward money from Duterte himself. 

But Lascañas was already planning to submit his retirement documents.

“I feigned accord to the killing contract, it was a ‘big time’ business of killing, according to [Delvo],” Lascañas said in his affidavit. He also said Delvo made a series of follow-up calls, even offering to provide a get-away motorcycle for his “DDS-hitman shooter.” 

Odicta and his wife, Merriam, were gunned down by an unidentified man as they were disembarking from a passenger ship in Aklan in August 2016. Duterte said he was not surprised that Odicta was killed because he “was really being hunted.” The then-president said Odicta was “wanted and he is the number one drug lord.” 

Lascañas claimed he received a “balato” (share) of P200,000.

That meeting was followed by another in October 2016, but this time in a Chinese restaurant in Greenhills, San Juan – just a few kilometers from the PNP headquarters – upon the invitation of Dela Rosa.

Lascañas said in his affidavit that Delvo, who sat beside him, asked “in whisper if [Duterte] gave me a quota [on] how many to kill in a day in Davao City before.” He replied that there was no quota, but there would be a bonus of “either money or material things” if they could reach five kills in a day.

“[Delvo] then told me that President Duterte, through…then-PNP Chief [Dela Rosa], gave him a quota of at least ten killings per day nationwide, in which Dela Rosa nodded in confirmation without a word,” Lascañas recalled.

The meeting happened during the same month that Lascañas and other Davao City cops appeared before a Senate hearing into alleged state-sponsored killings across the Philippines. This was following the exposé of Matobato.

Lascañas said in his affidavit that then-senator Alan Peter Cayetano told them to stay loyal to Duterte and deny all accusations.

Must Read

‘Deny everything’: Cayetano, Dela Rosa prepared witnesses for Senate DDS probe

‘Deny everything’: Cayetano, Dela Rosa prepared witnesses for Senate DDS probe

Before he flew back to Davao, Lascañas said Delvo called him for a meeting in Camp Crame to offer him “another contract killing with P10-million reward from President Duterte.”

Lascañas said Delvo would also offer “safe havens” inside Camp Crame whenever he relayed orders to him from more senior personalities. 

Person, Adult, Male
TOGETHER. Davao region top cop Alden Delvo and former president Rodrigo Duterte during an event in June 2023. Photo from Police Regional Office 11
No accountability

Lascañas’ allegations first became public after Rappler released a series of reports on his affidavit in November 2021. The ICC has since continued its own investigation into the killings under Duterte, including those that happened during his time in Davao City from 2011 to 2016.

Duterte left office in 2022 unscathed. Delvo, meanwhile, continued to rise through the ranks, even becoming Davao regional police director in March 2023. He was also recently recognized by the Metrobank Foundation.

Drug-related killings in Davao region also continued, with more than half of the 104 reported killings in Davao City alone happening since the start of his appointment in March 2023, according to data from the Dahas Project of the University of the Philippines’ Third World Studies Center.

After Delvo’s retirement from office, leaving behind a still on-the-run Quiboloy, what happens to Lascañas’ accusation against him that have reached the ICC? – Rappler.com

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!
Natsu Ando


Jodesz Gavilan

Jodesz Gavilan is a writer and researcher for Rappler and its investigative arm, Newsbreak. She covers human rights and impunity beats, producing in-depth and investigative reports particularly on the quest for justice of victims of former president Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs and war on dissent.