Probe of Duterte link to death squad ended

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The investigation of the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the alleged use by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of the notorious Davao Death Squad to kill the criminals and other enemies of the local state of Davao City has been practically put to an end.

Acting Justice Sec. Emmanuel Caparas on Friday told reporters that the investigation would not proceed to conclusion, in contrast to the original objective of the DOJ probe, since the witness has already been excluded from the Witness Protection Program (WPP). Caparas refused to elaborate.

Caparas’ admission came one month after he himself assured the public last April that the investigation against Duterte and the Davao Death Squad was ongoing. In fact, the outgoing acting secretary emphasized that the DOJ was making the probe on the notorious killing activities of Davao Death Squad, and Duterte’s role in it “seriously.”

Caparas made this statement several weeks before the May 9 synchronized elections for the national and local government positions, where Duterte, who was running for president, was far ahead of the Aquino administration’s official candidate, Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd.


Yesterday, Caparas stressed regarding the status of the case that “there’s really nothing there anymore” after the state witness was gone. Duterte is the next president of the Philippines. An old friend and classmate at the San Beda College of Law, lawyer Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd, will replace Caparas.

What remains to DOJ probers is the state witness’ affidavit, Caparas pointed out. He  said the witness, whose identity was withheld for security purposes, has asserted that he was a former member of the Davao Death Squad.

The witness told the investigators that the longtime Davao City Mayor Duterte was the one who called the shots in the killing activities of the Davao Death Squad. The witness’ supposed testimony corroborates the public admission of Duterte during the campaign period.

The purpose of the killing was to ensure that Davao City would become a peaceful city. Indeed, Davao City was awarded last year as the one of the world’s peaceful and orderly cities. The probe on the Davao Death Squad also started the same year.

Last year, former DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima said the government had a witness who could ascertain the link of Duterte to the death squad. She has been a vocal critic of Duterte since the time incoming president publicly admitted his connection with the Davao Death Squad.

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