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CHR to investigate Lascañas allegations

Graphic: Commission logo

The Commission on Human Rights has formally announced the continuation of its probe on the Davao Death Squad.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) formally announced the continuation of its probe on the Davao Death Squad (DDS), following fresh allegations linking the death squad's operations to then Mayor Duterte, even as it urged the Senate to pursue its own investigation in aid of legislation.

"Even if Lascañas' motive for implicating the former mayor in the Davao Death Squad has been put to question, especially by Senator Pacquiao during the 6 March 2017 senate hearing, the testimony itself is too compelling and detailed to ignore," said Commissioner Roberto Eugenio T. Cadiz.

In late 2015, prior to the change in administration and the revelations of Matobato and Lascañas, CHR Chair Jose Luis Martin Gascon had declared that the Commission will continue with its investigation on the DDS, to follow and pursue all leads, and ultimately hold to account all perpetrators.

The Commission disclosed that, aside from testimony of Lascañas and other recent witnesses, it will take into evidence the human bones gathered from the Laud quarry in Davao in 2009, when it first began conducting its investigation. The Laud quarry has been pointed out by several witnesses as one of the dumping grounds of victims of the DDS.

In 2012, the CHR issued a Resolution asking the Office of the Ombudsman to look into the possible administrative and criminal liability of the highest city official at the time, for his government's failure to investigate the killings attributed to the DDS. The Resolution, however, made no reference to human bones gathered from the Laud quarry by a composite team headed by the CHR, due to a case filed by the quarry's owner questioning the validity of the warrant utilized in collecting the evidence.

Two years after the CHR issued this Resolution, in 2014, the Supreme Court upheld the legality of the questioned warrant, thereby also paving the presentation in evidence of the human bones recovered from the quarry.

The testimonies of Matobato and Lascañas, with the latter positively identifying the recovery site as their dumping ground, are sufficient basis to continue the investigation on the DDS.

Date: 20 March 2017

Source: Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines

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Image credits

  1. Commission logo - Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines