Arturo Lascañas, an original member of the Duterte Death Squad (later called the Davao Death Squad), has been in hiding for about four years now. But he has only angry words for President Rodrigo Duterte – the man whom he believed in and was loyal to for over three decades since the former's days as Davao City mayor.
Rappler interviewed Lascañas on September 23, 2021, and obtained a video of him in October 2020 wherein he attested to the authenticity of his affidavit submitted to the International Criminal Court. The ICC is investigating the killings in Davao City during Duterte's time, along with extrajudicial killings carried out with impunity under the mantle of the national government's vicious and merciless campaign against drugs under Duterte, the President.
In this exclusive interview with Rappler, he recalled parts of his affidavit that listed or narrated circumstances of over a hundred killings. He named some officials who were complicit in these killings that he either knew about or took part in, and he addressed the President himself.
Lascañas has been through a lot. Two of his brothers were killed on suspicion of having links to illegal drugs and crime, and he was unable to protect them. He has been haunted by images of a child who was mercilessly killed, along with the child's pregnant mother and other members of his family, including his father, who was the real target of a killing operation. Lascañas has also worried about the safety of his own family, even as he has battled a serious kidney ailment.
Lascañas himself could be the target of the many influential and powerful people he has named in his October 8, 2020, affidavit submitted to the ICC. But he is unflustered and is more defiant and furious.
Addressing the man whose every word and command he followed for many years, Lascañas said: "Ang challenge ko sa iyo, Mayor Duterte, magharap tayo sa ICC (International Criminal Court). Ang yabang-yabang mo. Ang sabi mo, magaling ka na prosecutor. Ako 4th year law lang ako. Harapin mo ako, kung puwede bigyan pa kita ng partida. Ano'ng gusto mo, hingiin mo, ibigay ko. Sabihin mo, I waive my right against self-incrimination, gawin ko 'yun. Kung puwede ba no counsel, gawin ko 'yun, harapin kita. Kasi purpose ko makulong ako, tayong dalawa."
(My challenge to you, Mayor Duterte, let's face off at the ICC. You're arrogant. You said you were a good prosecutor. Me, I just reached 4th year law. If you face me, I'll even give you a bonus. What do you want, ask and I'll give it to you. If you ask me to say, I waive my right against self-incrimination, I'll do it. If it's possible not to have counsel, I'll do it, I'll face you. Because my purpose is to be jailed, for both of us to be jailed.)
Watch some of the highlights of the September interview with the man who killed for Duterte: Arturo Lascañas. – Rappler.com
Contributors to “THE LASCAÑAS AFFIDAVIT | ‘I KILLED FOR DUTERTE’” series: Lian Buan, Jodesz Gavilan, Glenda M. Gloria, Chay F. Hofileña, Pia Ranada, Rambo Talabong