THE Commission on Human Rights (CHR) will continue its investigation of the Davao Death Squad (DDS) following the claim of former police officer Arthur Lascañas that members of the group executed hundreds of suspected criminals.
Lascañas said that the killings were ordered by former Davao mayor Rodrigo Duterte, now the president of the country.
In a statement issued on Monday, CHR Commissioner Roberto Cadiz said that the testimonies of Lascañas at the Senate was “too compelling and detailed” to be ignored by senators.
“Even if Lascañas’ motive for implicating the former mayor in the [DDS] has been put to question, especially by Senator [Manny] Pacquiao during the March 6 Senate inquiry, the testimony itself is too compelling and detailed to ignore,” Cadiz said.
He added that the testimonies of Lascañas and Edgar Matobato are “sufficient basis” to continue the commission’s investigation.
In 2015, CHR Chairman Chito Gascon had declared that the commission will continue its probe on the DDS to “ultimately hold to account all perpetrators.”
The CHR will take as evidence the human bones gathered from the Laud quarry in Davao in 2009, when the
commission first conducted its investigation.
Several witnesses had said that the quarry was one of the “dumping grounds” of the DDS victims.
The CHR in 2012 asked the Ombudsman to look into the possible administrative and criminal liability of Duterte for his “failure” to look into the killings attributed to the DDS.
But in its report issued in 2012, the CHR made no reference to the human bones gathered from the Laud quarry because of a case filed by the quarry owner questioning the warrant’s validity that was used in collecting the evidences.
In 2014, the Supreme Court upheld the legality of the questioned warrant and also paved the presentation of human bones recovered from the quarry.