Ex-cop alleges Duterte paid for killings

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Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte

A retired Philippines police officer on Monday alleged that President Rodrigo Duterte ordered him and other members of a so-called death squad to kill criminals and opponents while Duterte was a city mayor.

Arthur Lascanas, the ex-police officer, told a press conference that the group received between 20,000 pesos (400 dollars) and 100,000 pesos for every killing carried out for Duterte in the southern city of Davao.

Lascanas admitted that he led the so-called Davao Death Squad, which allegedly killed drug users and pushers as well as petty criminals in Davao City, where Duterte was the mayor for more than two decades.

He said that, among those the squad killed, were anti-communist broadcaster Jun Pala, as well as Lascanas’ own two brothers, who were drug addicts.

“I ordered the killings of my two brothers out of my blind loyalty to former Mayor Duterte,” he said.

“Even if I die or I get killed, I am contented because my promise to God is to make a public confession.”

Lascanas’ statements were a retraction of his initial testimony before a Senate inquiry in October, in which he said that the Davao Death Squad did not exist.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said Lascanas’ statements are part of a “protracted political drama aimed to destroy the president and to topple his administration.”

“Our people are aware that this character assassination is nothing but vicious politics orchestrated by the sectors affected by the reforms initiated by the Duterte administration,” he added.(dpa/NAN)

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