A former member of a liquidation squad said that the President of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte, when he was a city mayor of Davao, ordered him and other members of the squad to assassinate criminals and political opponents.
Edgar Matobato, the former hitman who testified on Thursday before the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights and Public Order said that Duterte personally ordered the extra-judicial killings in gangland-style that left about 1,000 dead. Matobato acknowledged that he personally was involved in 50 cases of abductions and deadly assaults, including a man who they fed to a crocodile in 2007 in southern Davao city.
“Our job was to kill criminals like drug pushers, rapists, snatchers,” Matobato said under oath, adding that some of the targets were not criminals but opponents of Duterte and one of his sons.
There was no immediate reaction from the President’s office, which previously denied any involvement of Duterte in assaults and abductions of criminals and political opponents.
In August, the UN human rights experts urged the President of the Philippines to stop the extra-judicial executions and killings. A number of reports suggested that more than 900 suspected drug traffickers have been killed since Duterte came to power on 9 May. That time, Duterte denied all the accusations calling the experts “very stupid” and threatened to leave the UN.