Roque: No proof of Duterte’s link to Davao Death Squad
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday insisted there is no proof that President Rodrigo Duterte is linked to the vigilante killings in his hometown led by the Davao Death Squad (DDS).
The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) pre-trial chamber earlier claimed that it saw links between the killings in Davao City before 2016 and the President’s nationwide war against illegal drugs.
“I investigated the Davao Death Squad. I concluded that while the Davao Death Squad does exist, there is no evidence linking the President to the Davao Death Squad,” Roque said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel.
Before he was elected president, Duterte was Davao City mayor from 1988 to 1998, 2001 to 2010, and 2013 to 2016.
Roque also downplayed previous claims by self-confessed DDS members Arturo Lascañas and Edgar Matobato about Duterte supposedly ordering killings in Davao City.
“I knew about them even before. We went to the site where they allegedly buried bodies. We only found the skeleton of a dog,” Roque said.
According to the ICC pre-trial chamber, it found a “certain pattern” in the Davao killings and the nationwide drug war which includes the “systematic involvement of security forces.”
“In the assessment of the chamber, there exists information sufficiently linking the killings in the Davao area in 2011 to 2016 to the relevant facts of the so-called war on drugs campaign,” the pre-trial chamber said in its decision to authorize a formal probe into the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.
Meanwhile, Roque said the ICC’s investigation on the Duterte administration’s war on drugs is unlikely to move forward as the Philippine government still won’t cooperate.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.