MANILA, Apr 19 (Mabuhay) – A report on alleged “state-sponsored extrajudicial killings” authored by a retired police intelligence officer supports the claim of self-confessed hitman Arturo Lascañas about the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS), Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said Wednesday.
“That corroborates the earlier statement made by Lascañas when he said that the DDS received cash payments for each killing made,” Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party, said in a text message when asked to comment on the report by Reuters news service.
Lascañas, a retired cop, earlier claimed that President Rodrigo Duterte, during his term as Davao City mayor, paid up to P100,000 per drug suspect killed by police officers.
Testifying in a Senate inquiry last month, Lascañas said he was involved in the killing of at least 200 people, including radio broadcaster Jun Pala, upon the orders of Duterte.
He said members of the DDS, in which he was a “major player,” were motivated to kill drug suspects because of the “reward system” instituted by Duterte.
According to two senior officers interviewed by Reuters, police officers have received payments for killing drug suspects.
A 26-page report supposedly authored by one of the officers, titled “The State-Sponsored Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines,” alleged that the “reward” for drug killings range from P20,000 for a “street level pusher and user,” to P50,000 for a member of the barangay council, P1 million for “distributors, retailers and wholesalers” and P5 million for “drug lords.”
The document has been shared with leaders of the Catholic Church, and the Commission on Human Rights, Reuters said.
“Police officers kill for money, said the commander, but also out of fear: Even the police are afraid of being included on a “watch list” of drug suspects drawn up by police and local officials,” the report noted.
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III deferred comment on the issue, saying he first needs to read the report.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III downplayed the report.
“I give small weight basta international news agency about the Philippines,” Sotto said in a text message.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the Senate public order committee which conducted an inquiry into Lascañas’ allegations against Duterte, earlier said that the retired cop’s claims are “clearly meant to destabilize” the Duterte administration. (MNS)