VP Duterte dares Lascañas: Charge me in PH court | Inquirer News
‘New script’

VP Duterte dares Lascañas: Charge me in PH court

05:40 AM February 02, 2024

Sara Duterte —Photo from Inday Sara Dutere Fb page

Sara Duterte —Photo from Inday Sara Dutere Fb page

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Sara Duterte on Thursday challenged a retired police officer who accused her of being the progenitor of the bloody door-to-door antidrug operation called “Oplan Tokhang” to file murder charges against her — but only in Philippine courts.

“Without going into any debate, to that witness and to the people behind him: file murder charges against me here in the Philippines,” she said in a video message on Thursday, addressing her accuser, Arturo Lascañas, a confessed gunman of the Davao Death Squad (DDS).


Duterte questioned the timing of Lascañas’ claims against her, saying he appeared to be mouthing a “new script” intended to drag her into the case being built by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against those behind the alleged drug war killings during the administration of her father, former President Rodrigo Duterte.


“Besides the timing, it is clear that they are just forcibly involving me in this issue so I can be considered as an accused in the ICC [case],” she said.

In her recorded statement, Duterte issued a blanket denial of ever being linked to Oplan Tokhang or the DDS during her time as Davao City mayor and vice mayor.

“All of a sudden, there was a witness against me when I got elected as Vice President. And I also became one of the accused at the ICC,” she said in Filipino.

The ICC has launched an investigation of alleged extrajudicial drug killings during the presidency and Davao mayoralty of Duterte’s father that left thousands dead.

Official data put the death toll from the drug war at about 6,000, but rights watchdogs believe the actual number could be well over 20,000.

Her ‘trademark’

Appearing at an online press conference from an undisclosed location on Wednesday, Lascañas alleged that the younger Duterte was the one who invented Oplan Tokhang, or the “knock and plead” antidrug operation when she was still mayor of Davao City.


According to the whistleblower, this was how Duterte left her “trademark” in her father’s war on drugs, along with then Davao City police chief and now Sen. Ronald dela Rosa.

Tokhang, a portmanteau of the Visayan words “tuktok” or knock and “hangyo” or plead, became an official police campaign notorious for summary executions and rights abuses.

Lascañas also linked the eldest of the Duterte siblings, Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte, to the smuggling of illegal narcotics in the country when he was still the vice mayor of Davao.

Paolo has not yet responded to those allegations.

Lascañas first made the accusations against the Dutertes in a 186-page affidavit he executed during ICC’s six-day pretrial investigation in February 2022.

He recently appeared in a series of videotaped interviews with the independent media outfit Vera Files, where he spoke at length about his allegations, including the latest against Duterte’s two children.

Need for parallel probes

Also on Thursday, the human rights group Karapatan urged the Commission on Human Rights to investigate Lascañas’ claims against the Duterte siblings.

The organization also urged the human rights committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives to launch parallel inquiries on the matter, considering the seriousness of the allegations.

“They owe this to the thousands of victims who have long been seeking justice and accountability,” Karapatan said in a statement.

“Not only have the whistleblowers implicated Duterte’s group in the DDS killings. They have pinpointed Rodrigo Duterte as one of, if not the biggest, drug lords in the country who used his aggressive antidrug war as a convenient cover and an opportunity to eliminate rival drug kingpins,” it added.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

“For the sake of the victims, who number in the tens of thousands, the investigations must exact justice and accountability from the perpetrators. Duterte and his coterie of murderers and drug lords must be prosecuted and punished to the full extent of the law,” Karapatan said.

TAGS: Davao, Drugs, Sara Duterte

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.