The Davao Death Squad (DDS) might not be the culprit behind the death of several criminals in Davao City when President Rodrigo Duterte was mayor.
In his speech at the Philippine Marines’ headquarters Tuesday (Sept. 27), Duterte said the death toll was high under his watch as mayor because the police were efficient.
“Sa totoo lang ganito ‘yan: maraming patay sa Davao kasi ang pulis doon nagtatrabaho talaga. Kasi ako, pag sinabi ko sa pulis, ‘follow my order,’ just follow my order and do not worry about anything,” he said.
Duterte served as Davao City mayor from 1988 to 1998, 2001 to 2010, and 2013 to 2016.
But while the police merely followed his orders with regard to apprehending criminals, Duterte said he wasn’t short on warning wrongdoers about their imminent death if they don’t leave the city.
Addressing the soldiers, the President said: “Kayong naka-assign diyan, alam niyo ‘yan. Pag di kayo umalis sa Davao, papatayin ko kayo. Yung akin, that is personal outrage because I serve the people. Pantakot lang din ‘yan. Would you rather na patayin ko na lang, wala akong warning?”
Human rights groups have documented over 1,400 killings of criminals and street children in Davao City between 1998 and May 2016, which were supposedly done by vigilante groups, including the DDS.
The Office of the Ombudsman has found no evidence linking the DDS to the killings, much less Duterte’s involvement with the group. [source]