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Stop The Davao Death Squads

March 30, 2009


The killings have been going on for nearly a decade.

Now the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is finally taking the cudgels for the families of the victims of the so-called  Davao Death Squads (DDS) – ‘faceless’ motorcycling-riding men who come in the dead of the night (sometimes even in broad daylight by some accounts) to snatch suspected drug pushers or drug addicts from their homes never to be seen alive again.

CHR Chair Leila De Lima, who has brought a laudably ‘ activist’ sheen in the commission’s operations, estimates up to 800 lives have been claimed by the DDS.

But what is doubly disturbing is that Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s name has been repeatedly linked to the DDS, given his long-held mailed-fist stance against drug traffickers.

On one side, there has also been visibly public support in Davao for their lawyer-mayor’s advocacy.

This despite long circulating rumors that one tactic used against notorious drug pushers in Davao City is that several have fallen to their deaths by being hurled from helicopters!

To be fair, Mayor Duterte is himself a known advocate of human rights.


Last May 14, he was among the first to arrive at the Davao Memorial Pak when the hearse of slain teacher Rebelyn Pitao at around 3 p.m. for the girl’s funeral which was attended by more than 3,000 marchers.

Duterte is a friend of Rebelyn’s father, Leoncio Pitao alias Parago of the Pulang Bagani Command of the New People’s Army (NPA).

But the activities of the DDS cannot go on. These must stop, and Duterte must take the lead, and leave the matter of fighting drug traffickers for the police and the courts to deal with.

No one can be judge, jury, and executioner.

Even in the Philippines.

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