May 27, 2017 03:00 AM PST
SINCE 2007

Human rights commission, police, justice department to probe Duterte’s link to extra judicial killings

By Jane Obana | FilAm Star Correspondent

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) appealed to the Department of Justice to conduct an investigation against Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in his alleged extra judicial killings in Davao.

The CHR is now collaborating with the Department of Justice, the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation to gather evidences to confirm if there were human rights violation. If proven, Duterte will most likely face multiple murder charges.

This is not the first time that the CHR and other Human rights group urged the investigation of Duterte with his alleged extra judicial killings as a form of disciplinary action. Back in 2012, the CHR found probable cause to recommend that the Office of the Ombudsman file murder charges against Duterte. On May this year, the New York based group Human Right Watch appealed to the Philippine government to probe Duterte’s alleged human rights violation.

Duterte did not seem to mind. “About time. Go ahead. Be my guest,” he texted to GMA News.

Duterte did not deny the allegations of killing as form of punishment for the city’s lawbreakers. In his interviews he also candidly admitted he has killed over a thousand criminals and the numbers may rise if he will be elected president.

“If I become President, and I am telling you, I do not covet the position. If I become President, 1,000 will rise to 50,000. I will kill all of you (who) make the life of the Filipino miserable. I will really kill you,” he said in an interview with ABS-CBN last May before he filed his Presidential candidacy. Aside from his strongly worded statements, Duterte has long been linked to the Davao Death Squad or DDS, a vigilante group allegedly responsible for the summary execution of criminals and drug dealers in Davao.

“Me, the death squad? True, that’s true,” he said in an interview with Davao’s local TV program Gikan sa Masa Para sa Masa last May.

Born to Soledad Roa-Duterte and Vicente Duterte, “Digong” as friends call Duterte, must have inherited his knack for politics from his father, Vicente Duterte who was Provincial Governor of Davao from 1959-1965. Duterte served as Davao City’s Mayor for nine years since he was elected in 1988. In 1998, he ran for congress and won as the representative of the first District of Davao. He then ran for re-election for Davao City’s mayor in 2001 and won, serving his fourth term.

In profile by Rappler his mother Soledad or “Soleng” described Digong as an adventurous kid who was kicked out of Ateneo de Davao High School and was sent away to a high school in Digos in Davao del Sur where he finished his secondary education.

Time Magazine recounted that young Duterte had to endure beatings from his mother to discipline him. In the same article in 2002 , the magazine dubbed Duterte as “The Punisher” because of his alleged links to the death of lawbreakers in the city. Over time he has also been tagged “Duterte Harry” after the vindictive detective portrayed by Clint Eastwood.

During his stint as the mayor, Davao stands as one of the safest cities in Southeast Asia but his extreme method is still up for debate. Former Department of Justice Secretary and now senatorial candidate Leila de Lima is among those who opposes the idea of summary execution as a form of discipline. “Some like Duterte’s way of discipline. Some of them even idolize him. But is that right? It is not! Killing is killing, no matter what!” she said in an interview by Rappler.

Lorraine Aquino, a college student who moved from Manila to Davao related her firsthand experience living in Davao City for two years. “It really is safe in Davao. In the local news, there are not much reports of murders, usually just accidents. Also, me and my friends walk around outside of our houses even during the wee hours and feel totally safe to do so. Davao is definitely not like Manila but it is becoming as developed as Manila minus the chaos.”, she told FilAm Star.