A self-proclaimed hit-man in the Philippines says he heard the country’s president order extra-judicial killings in the early ’90s.
Speaking during a legislative investigation into Duterte’s ongoing anti-crime crackdown, militiaman Edgar Matobato testified that Rodrigo Duterte had personally given assassination orders while he was Mayor of Davao City.
Matobato told senators Duterte allegedly gave the go-ahead for the summary execution of Senator Leila de Lima, a staunch critic of Duterte.
“They decided and ordered to ambush you,” he said, adding the order came from Duterte while he was still Mayor of Davao City.
“We were told about it inside the office. So we stayed there waiting for you, but you did not went up and just stayed at the entrance, so we just stayed there and waited,” he said.
He also told senators that the president’s eldest son and current Davao vice mayor, Paolo Duterte, was allegedly a drug user who ordered the death of a hotel owner in 2014.
“From my start from 1988 to 2013, I have gunned down over 50 people when we were told to kill. I cannot remember their names, but I still remember being a hit-man and what happened,” Matobato added.
Rights groups have documented some 1,400 suspicious killings in Davao since the early 1990s and critics say the bloody war on drugs Duterte has unleashed since taking office on June 30 bears the same hallmarks.
More than 3,500 people, or about 47 per day, have been killed in the past 10 weeks, some 58 percent by unknown assailants and the rest in legitimate police operations, according to police.
The president made no comment on the allegations, but his political allies dismissed them as lies.