CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 18 May 2019

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All the president’s men

DAVAO CITY (SE): Despite the outlandish claim that he has rid Davao City of crime, the infamous death squads championed by the former mayor of the city and now president-elect, Rodrigo Duterte, are back at work.

After a bit of a lull in proceedings, the men behind the guns have again been active, as the president’s men in the style of the death squads of the martial law president, Ferdinand Marcos, are reported to have eliminated three petty criminals in Davao during the days prior to May 27.

Police reported that gunmen on motorcycles had murdered three petty criminals in Duterte’s hometown of Davao. While a senior inspector, Milgrace Driz, refused to comment, local people described their deaths as executions.

An eyewitness said that gunmen on motorcycles attacked the men on a street and then left. Another eyewitness claims to have seen at least one gunman with a police radio.

“Police records show these men were pickpockets and burgled cars,” Driz said, casting suspicion that the deaths could have been the result of gang warfare.

Driz dismissed the existence of death squads as a myth and called them a figment of the imagination of journalists, despite recorded confessions of men who have belonged to them.

The death squads of Davao are nothing new and have been the proud flagship of the rambunctious mayor, who freely admits the numbers killed, although they vary astronomically depending on his erratic moods.

However, even a conservative estimate will run into many hundreds. 

While Duterte staunchly insists they were all criminals, human rights advocates, journalists, street children, political opponents and those whose only crime was being born poor are also among the casualties.

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