Panel looks into Davao killings

Published by rudy Date posted on March 19, 2009

The Commission on Human Rights will look into the series of unexplained killings attributed to the “Davao Death Squad” and unmask those behind the vigilante group.

CHR Chairman Leila de Lima told a news forum in Quezon City that she and other agency officials will fly to Davao City on March 30 in an effort to gather witnesses against the group said to be responsible for a series of killings in the city.

“We will investigate for two days from March 30 and on the third day we will also investigate the abduction, rape and murder of Rebelyn Pitao,” De Lima told the weekly Usapang Daungan Forum at Danarra Hotel.

She said it was alarming to note that some people in Davao have found the killings acceptable. “We cannot accept reasons that there were no witnesses and we will ask the local police and military to explain if they have acted on these killings.”

“I don’t think that should be tolerated. It is definitely wrong… even petty rugby sniffers were reportedly being killed and this happens for the past 10 years. We will find out if the DDS’ actions were state sponsored, at least locally, because they cannot tell us that those were isolated cases. There must be a system behind the killings,” De Lima pointed out.

De Lima said she had discussed the matter with Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who assured her of the city government’s full cooperation.

“We spoke a month ago and I told him about my plan. He immediately said yes, he will cooperate for as long as the investigations are made public and transparent. I hope he will sincerely cooperate,” De Lima further said.

“We hope to get as many witnesses and maybe we could convince active or former members of DDS to come out in the open and cooperate with the CHR. It is hard to believe that no one is behind the activities of this group, if indeed it exists,” the CHR chief added.

Armed Forces Civil Relations Service chief Brig. Gen. Gaudencio Pangilinan said Armed Forces Chief Alexander Yano had instructed them to fully cooperate with the CHR.– Joel M. Sy Egco, Manila Standard Today

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