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Duterte, President of the Philippines, Accused of Murder

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Perry enjoys writing on diverse topics and has a wealth of knowledge about politics.

Matobato (L) and President Duterte(R) has filed a criminal complaint against him via Senator De Lima.

Matobato (L) and President Duterte(R) has filed a criminal complaint against him via Senator De Lima.

Duterte's Davao Death Squad

When the new president of the Philippines, formerly the Mayor of Davao (the country's third largest city back in 1998-2000), declared war on all drug-related crimes and all criminals.

To do this, he formed what became known as the Davao Death Squad (DDS) made up of police and para-military soldiers that were heavily armed. They were a ruthless sanctioned "hit" group that Duterte praised and gave mercenary-like powers to raid suspected drug labs and dealers and kill them if there was a scintilla of opposition. Since there usually was, the firepower of the DDS simply ravaged all drug dealers, labs, and criminals. Many were taken into custody only to be executed in isolated areas or quarries. There was little mercy if one was accused of being a drug dealer, user, lab owner, or another crime.

Some say tens of thousands were killed by the DDS. While the record is unclear, what we do know is what has happened since Duterte became the Philippines' new president. He declared another war on the same people after being elected and, so far, 6000 have been killed.

The Filipino Senate is wary of their new leader in many ways, but eyewitnesses from 1998-2000 knew it was only a matter of time until Duterte would have more blood on his hands. Not everyone loves the new president.

Edgar Matobato, Eyewitness

Edgar Matobato was a member of Duterte's DDS back then. He is now 57. He is the Senate's witness who was moved from one safe house to another until his testimony occurred. In his testimony, he calmly stated that he saw Duterte, himself, kill his victims at least eight times! Seven of these murders were known drug dealers in Davao and were taken to the Ma-a Quarry in Davao without any judicial process and shot. Shot by the now president of the Philippines.

This revelation is simply incredible. He could not recall the names of the victims or more details, which gave Duterte's supporters to claim the testimony was untrue. However, for the eighth victim, he could provide the details.

Did Duterte Kill Vicente Amisola?

This victim was a National Bureau of Investigation undercover agent named Vicente Amisola, but Matobato only knew him as Amisola. Amisola was in a blocking position with his car when the DDS and Duterte were chasing criminals. An altercation occurred between the DDS and Amisola and the DDS opened fire upon him. Amisola took cover under his car. Matobato said he saw Duterte, armed with an uzi machine gun, empty two magazines into Amisola.

Matobato's Interviews and Testimony

Matobato's testimony did come under some suspicion as a result of his inconsistent accounts. The murder of Amisol happened on Feb. 11, 1994, which is before the times Matobato recounts. Matobato claims the Ma-a Quarry was commonly used by the DDS to execute suspects deemed to be "important." He did say all the victims were male.

When CNN Philippines interviewed Matobato, the recount was consistent with the Senate testimony. He said that Duterte's son, now Vice Mayor of Davao (his daughter is the Mayor now), did ask DDS to kill his enemies, which included a man at a gas station that had an argument with him. According to Matobato, the DDS did not target any of the known drug lords in the Davao area, but only the small-time pushers and labs, which begs the question, why?

Filipinos are not sure what to make of all this. Duterte remains very popular despite the 6,000 deaths that have reduced crime in some places. Matobato said, "Believe it or not." Without more testimony from other DDS members and real evidence to support him, many are scoffing with disbelief.


This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.