Manila, Sep 15 (IANS) Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte ordered attacks and killings of political adversaries when he was mayor of Davao, according to the confessions of a hitman before an investigation committee of the Senate on Thursday.
According to Edgar Matobato, an alleged former member of a death squad comprising policemen and soldiers, Duterte ordered the kidnapping and murder of four followers of his rival to Davao mayorship, Prospero Nograles, Efe news reported.
Matobato said before the commission, which is investigating the president’s anti-drug campaign that began two months ago, Duterte and Nograles were rivals and Duterte got the squad to kidnap Nograles’ people.
He said they were taken to the Island Garden City at Samal, where they were killed.
Matobato also revealed that on another occasion, Duterte had asked them to attack a mosque in Davao and kill Muslims, following an explosion at the city’s cathedral.
The hitman also claimed that the current Filipino president had ordered the murder of radio presenter Jun Pala, who was critical of Duterte’s management of Davao and who was shot dead by two people on a motorcycle.
Duterte has often been accused of being behind the Davao Death Squads that according to several human rights organisations, are responsible for the deaths of more than a thousand people.
Duterte himself had on numerous occasions suggested murdering criminals as an effective method to reduce crime rate, which was very high when he became mayor in 1988.
Since winning the presidential elections on May 9, Duterte once again called upon the police and civilians to kill drug traffickers and consumers under his anti-drug campaign.
Nearly 3,500 alleged drug traffickers and addicts have been killed since he assumed office, some 1,500 in police operations and the rest by vigilante groups, according to the police.