Man claiming to be member of Davao Death Squad accuses Duterte of masterminding killings
A 57-year-old man claiming to be a former member of a death squad on Thursday accused President Rodrigo Duterte of masterminding the killings of suspected criminals when he was Davao City mayor for 28 years.
Edgar Matobato, a former militiaman, described Duterte as a cold-blooded
killer responsible for ordering the deaths of over 1,000 people during that period.
Among the victims are suspected drug personalities, rapists, petty criminals who are 15 to 17 years old and even young addicts who are made to suffer brutal deaths.
Matobato claimed Duterte even killed an agent of the National Bureau of Investigation in 1993 whose pickup was blocking the road while they were conducting an operation.
“We could not move. Then Major Pahong went down and confronted the agent,” said Matobato. “This resulted in a shoot out but killing Jamisola (the agent’s name) was difficult as he was good at rolling.”
The agent ran out of bullets and Duterte finished him off with when he arrived at the scene. It was a overkill, Matobato said, as 200 bullets hit the agent.
What drove him to spill the beans on Duterte is his conscience, said Matobato.
Of the 1,000 persons executed by the so-called Davao Death Squad, he said he was responsible for killing 50 people.
"I want to give justice to the sins I have committed. I want the people what we have done in Davao City," Matobato said in Filipino during a Senate hearing on extrajudicial killings and summary executions.
Matobato said he was a ghost employee of the city government for 24 years, receiving a monthly salary of P5,000. "Our job is to kill people," he said.
Under questioning by Senator Leila De Lima, chairperson of the committee on justice and human rights, Matobato revealed some of crimes which Duterte, who uses the code "Charlie Mike".
Duterte's death squad, Matobato said, has about 300 members, including policemen, former communist rebels and hired assassins.
One of these victims is Jun Barzabal, an alleged land grabber. He was killed and his body buried at the Laud quarry in Barangay Ma-a sometime in the 90s.
Before Barzabal was executed, he was brought to Duterte, then city mayor, who was playing golf.
"Mayor Duterte hit him with a golf club, destroying his teeth," said Matobato.
In 1993, Duterte allegedly ordered the massacre of Muslims in the city in retaliation to the bombing of the Davao Cathedral.
"I was the one who threw the grenade in the Bangkeruhan Mosque," said Matobato. There were no casualties as no one was inside the mosque.
In the days that followed, he and other assassins shot several Muslims in retaliation for the bombing.
He claimed to have been involved in the kidnapping of Sali Macdum at Island Garden City of Samal in Davao del Norte in 2002. He recalled they brought Macdum, a suspected international terrorist, at the office of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF).
Based on what he remember, one of the officers present at PAOCTF was Director General Ronald Dela Rosa, current chief of the Philippine National Police.
"We killed him, chopped him and buried his remains at the quarry," said Matobato.
Dela Rosa,present in the hearing as one of the resource persons, looked at Matobato intently. There were instances he smiled while listening to the self-confessed killer's testimony.
Senator Panfilo Lacson questioned Matobato's recollection of events, saying the PAOCTF, whom he once headed as a police officer, was dissolved in 2001.
"The PAOCTF was already gone as I was a senator by 2002," said Lacson.
Matobato named some of the member of the DDS as Senior Police Officer 4 Arthur Maclanas, the death squad's alleged team leader, a certain Colonel Roque Ascanas, Bienvenido Purog and Bobong Aquino.
There was another case where he killed an alleged fixer at the Land Transportation Office in 2013 on Duterte's order. "I don't know the reason but we abducted this person in front of the LTO and killed him."
He claimed to be among the people who killed four bodyguards of former House Speaker Prospero Nograles, who ran and lost against Duterte when he ran for mayor in 2010.
They abducted, hanged and tore open the stomachs of the victims before throwing the corpses at sea.Emmanuel Tupas