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Under Investigation: The Davao Death Squad

April 20, 2009


Nestled in the center of Mindanao’s Davao Gulf, Davao City is the Philippines biggest urban center in thems of land area.

So with a population of just over 2 million it has wide expanses that hold huge economic potential.

But that potential is held in check by its crime problem with authporities concerned about drug trafficking, and smuggling.

Now under scrunity is a problem that has grown in intensity this past decade: the bodies of youths subjected yo summarry executional, tagged colloquially as ‘salvagings.

They are victims of the Davao Death Squad – motorcycle-riding men who snatched reputed drug pushers and neighborhood criminals.

Disturbingly the mayor himself, outspoken lawyer Rodrigo Duterte is tagged by human rights advocates as being the coddler of the DDS.

Duterte does not flinch when asked about the accusation.

He says calmly, “I hate criminals. If there are people killng them that’s their look out.”

he Commission of Human Rights is looking into documented cases of some 800 extrajudicial killinings since 1999 with new reports of fresh unmarked graves surfacing in recent days.

CHR Chair Leila De Lima says she has gotten information that people close to Mayor Duterte have direct knowledge about the activities of the Davao Death Squad.

The problem appears to be more deeply rooted than it seems, leaving Davao City literally drenched with the blood of youths deprived of both due process and their very lives

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