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Rights groups wants UN to investigate Philippine's Duterte

Former 'hit man' said Duterte ordered him to kill 50 people in Davao City

September 19, 2016

The Philippine government should invite an independent investigation involving the UN into allegations of direct involvement by President Rodrigo Duterte in extrajudicial killings, Human Rights Watch said Sept. 16.

The rights groups said that an admitted former "hit man," Edgar Matobato, testified at a Philippine Senate hearing on Sept. 15 about the alleged killings of about 1,000 people in Davao City involving Duterte, who was the city’s mayor for more than two decades.

"The detailed testimony from a ‘death squad’ member that then-Mayor Duterte was personally involved in killings and ordered others are very serious allegations that require an independent investigation," said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

"President Duterte can’t be expected to investigate himself, so it is crucial that the United Nations is called in to lead such an effort. Otherwise, Filipinos may never know if the president was directly responsible for extrajudicial killings," said Adams.

Matobato, a member of the Davao City "death squad" from 1988 to 2003, said he himself killed about 50 people under direct orders from then-Mayor Duterte. "Our job was to kill criminals, rapists, [drug] pushers and snatchers," Matobato testified. "We killed people almost on a daily basis." He also described witnessing Duterte "[empty] two Uzi magazines" into a National Bureau of Investigation official in 1993.

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