Jude Josue Sabio
IN an article entitled “Duterte on Criminals: ‘Kill all of them’” published in the Inquirer Mindanao on May 25, 2015, Duterte expressed in clear and unmistakable terms what Matobato has just confirmed in his riveting testimony in Senate.
In that article, Duterte was quoted as saying with braggadocio: “You rape a child in my city?”and “I will kill you, I have no problem with that.” As reported, this statement was made before more than 200 delegates at the first national convention of the Workplace Advocates on Safety in the Philippines
He was quoted with the following statements: “You commit robbery and rape your victim? I will kill you.” “We’re the ninth safest city.” “How do you think I did it? How did I reach that title among the world’s safest cities?” “Kill them all (criminals),” he arrogantly said. As reported, his statement elicited gasps and loud applause from his audience.
It is flaunted by Duterte that Davao City has been cited as the world’s ninth safest city. No wonder then that Duterte has been bragging about his secret in achieving his feat as mayor of Davao City.
In the article, Duterte was quoted as recounting to the then President Arroyo his policy of killing. He said, “But the best practices in the city, ma’am, are the killings (of criminals).” From his own personal account, Duterte was recounting it to the then President of the country in his bid to lecture her on what is the best practice to take.
It is already public knowledge that Duterte had declared that he would kill 100,000 drug suspects when he would be voted as President. That is actually happening right now. He even made a promise to end the drug menace in six months. But he has recently admitted that he would fail, because he said that he could not kill all the criminals in six months. He asked for extension of six months.
A Catholic bishop came out criticizing him as a man not of one word.
The clear admission of Duterte himself on several occasions in public, coupled with the reliable account of Matobato, proves the existence and murderous rampage of the Davao Death Squad. Considering that Duterte admitted that he is the Davao Death Squad, it is more fitting to call it as Duterte Death Squad. The honor should be accorded to him being the godfather of what in reality is a Mafiosi crime family headed by him.
Based on Edgar Matobato’s account, the Duterte Death Squad operated like a Mafiosi crime family. Duterte allegedly headed the family, giving orders for the thousand hits to be carried out by its hitmen, including Matobato who has 50 hits to his credit.
But the sad irony to this gruesome story is that the Mafiosi style of gangland crime operation is being bragged by Duterte as his policy for public security and safety in Davao. It is not just that he will kill criminals, which is murder plain and simple. It is above all else a strategy adopted by him as a public policy to eradicate crime.
As mayor then of Davao, what he adopted and implemented as a best practice to solve crime is tantamount to public policy. Now, as President, what he suggested to the then President Arroyo is now being adopted by him as policy on peace and order for the whole country. He is making the country a replica of Davao City.
Unlike the Mafiosi which goes by the vow of omerta, for Duterte it is no secret at all. It being his public policy, he has, as mayor, as a presidential candidate and then as voted president, announced it in public, several times over and over again. He even boasted that it is the best practice. Clearly, Duterte promoted murder, plain and simple, as the official solution to the problem of criminality in Davao City. And he is replicating it now for the whole country.
There can be no doubt in the mind of the public that by his own admissions through his public pronouncements, Duterte is a proud killer, no better than Matobato. Based on his account, Matobato pulled the trigger allegedly on orders of Duterte. A triggermen is liable as a principal by direct participation. The mastermind is liable as a principal by inducement. That is what the law says.
Before and now, the writings on the wall are sufficiently clear. We have in our midst a President who is a confirmed killer. Never has there ever been a politician of our country who openly and publicly professed to even just one killing, elected as President. Not even the late Ferdinand Marcos admitted to having killed Nalundasan. In fact, Marcos defended himself to the bitter end his innocence before the Supreme Court which acquitted him.
Whether or not a victim is a criminal himself like the person who kills him, killing a person, even a suspected criminal, is murder under the law. It is not justified by the policy of killing to save lives or to achieve peace and order in the community, as espoused by a mayor or even a President like Duterte.
It would seem that the people were enamored by Duterte’s demagogic talk about being tough on criminals. Desperate for change, the people adored Duterte like a rising demagogue, blinded by their cult idolatry of him. The people thought that the mayor was just tough-talking. They failed to realize that Dirty Harry in the film did not just talk hard. He carried out what he talked hard about. He killed.
Now that the bodies are piling up across the land, in addition to the thousand skeletons lying in the sea and buried in the Laud quarry, and tears of grief are flowing from the face of grieving fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, it is not euphoria anymore. People should begin and undoubtedly are beginning to realize that it is not just Dirty Harry talk for Duterte. It is for real. The blood and skeletons from the murders are real. And Duterte has said it before and has been saying it time and time again.
And it has to stop. Duterte bragged that he would pardon himself for the crime of multiple murders once he becomes president. He even said that he could not be imprisoned because he is already seventy years. He further said that he is immune from suit. The solution is simple. Having admitted his failure to stop the drug menace in six months through his public policy of killing, Duterte should resign and face the courts together with his henchmen.