|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Sep 26, 2016 09:10 PM EDT|
(Photo : Getty Images) Duterte shows the finger to the European Union after the EU asked him to respect the human rights of Filipinos.
WikiLeaks has released confidential reports hacked from the U.S. Department of State confirming Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte heads the murderous Davao Death Squad that allegedly murdered over 1,400 persons, including street children and vendors, starting 1998 when Duterte became mayor of Davao City in Mindanao island.
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The leaked documents also reveal Duterte as president is now resorting to the same tactics he used in Davao City's bloody drug war over the past two decades and for which he was never held accountable.
That strategy consists in giving the Philippine National Police carte blanche to murder drug suspects at will; organizing hit squads under the guise of vigilante groups; promising the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army immunity from prosecution for their murders and offering huge rewards to civilians that inform on alleged drug bosses and drug users.
The climate of fear created by the government-abetted murders also prevents the families of victims and well-meaning citizens and civic organizations from opposing the killings out of fear they'll be murdered and branded drug addicts.
Over 3,500 Filipinos have so far been murdered in Duterte's lawless drug war, for which he is being taken to task by the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and international human rights groups.
Duterte has responded by hurling expletives at his accusers while his sycophants claim Duterte and the police haven't violated any human rights in these thousands of extra-judicial killings.
A confidential U.S. State Department cable dated May 8, 2009 recently revealed by WikiLeaks said Duterte once "admitted complicity" in vigilante killings in Davao City.
WikiLeaks is an international non-profit journalistic organization that publishes secret information, news leaks and classified media from anonymous sources.
Written by former U.S. ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney, the cable quoted statements from Alberto Sipaco, Jr, director of the Davao office of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).
"Commission on Human Rights regional director Alberto Sipaco (strictly protect) at a private meeting affirmed that Mayor Duterte knows about the killings and permits them. Recounting a conversation he once had with Duterte, who is his close friend and former fraternity brother, Sipaco said he pleaded with the Mayor to stop vigilante killings and support other methods to reduce crime, like rehabilitation programs for offenders," wrote Kenney.
"According to Sipaco, the Mayor responded, 'I'm not done yet."
Sipaco said he "repeatedly attempted to reason with Duterte that the killings were unlawful and detrimental to society, but Duterte refused to broach the issue."
"Sipaco expressed a sense of helplessness over the killings, as well as concern for his personal safety, but acknowledged that the CHR was taking its mission in Davao very seriously," Kenney said.
A classified report by State Department Political Officer Andrew McClearn and revealed by WikiLeaks said human rights organizations have implicated the "Davao Death Squad," a vigilante group linked with Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, in 26 killings since the new year began (probably 2005).
It said the latest killings in Davao "serve to add to the lethal image that Mayor Duterte has carefully cultivated since coming to office in 1998."
The report also noted the DDS was similarly implicated in over 60 killings in 2004. But more damning, the report said Duterte "all but acknowledged his active support of the DDS Group ...."
The Davao Death Squad, described as a vigilante group "formed by the mayor," carried out many of the killings. DDS is an underground network of former criminals and communist militants. Their victims are "usually street children and petty criminals."
"In a January 17 meeting at city hall, he also offered cash rewards to citizens who helped identify drug traffickers or drug production laboratories so that they could be 'punished and destroyed'."
The report also quoted Sipaco telling U.S. Embassy officials "he did not have confidence in the ability of the national government to investigate the situation, however well-intentioned it might be:
"We are having the same problem as last year; friends and families of the victims don't lift a finger to accuse anyone, and neither eyewitnesses or hearsay witnesses come forward to the authorities."
Sipaco added that Duterte was unlikely to cooperate in any investigation given past patterns.
Moreover, most Davao citizens "seem to approve" of the extra-judicial killings, which strengthened Duterte's hand immeasurably, he said. Local human rights NGOs and leftist groups have also publicly complained about the killings, blaming Duterte for what has transpired.
The report also said the "sad fact is that rising crime rates and a slow, complicated legal system leave many Filipinos appreciative of such tactics, while weakening the rule of law in favor of summary justice."
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