Gov’t’s probe on Davao Death Squad at dead end
The government is at a dead end in its investigation on the Davao Death Squad (DDS), a vigilante group in Davao City linked to presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte.
“There is really nothing there anymore,” acting Justice Secretary Emmanuel Caparas said at a press conference Friday.
DDS is a vigilante group tagged responsible for the summary executions of some 1,020 to 1,040 people between 1998 to 2008.
Some people claim that DDS is nothing but an urban legend, but to the sectors that believe that the DDS exists, Caparas says they should prove it.
“If it is a matter of fact, prove it. When the facts are there, when the evidence is there, the witnesses are there and presented formally and there is proof, then we can investigate that, then we can proceed to do what is appropriate,” Caparas said.
Last year, then Justice Secretary and now Senator-elect Leila De Lima said the government has a witness to pin Duterte’s ties with the DDS.
The witness, according to De Lima, is the basis of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) case buildup on the group.
But Caparas said he tried to look into the identity of the witness.
“I tried to look into that myself. The witness is not there. What will I do?” Caparas said, adding that he does not even know the name of the witness.
He was informed that the witness has executed an affidavit but admitted that it will remain a “file” unless the witness can confirm the affidavit.
“[The affidavit] is on file. It is really just a question now if the witness will surface. For now, again, it is very difficult to speculate [If we have the witness],” he said.
“What I understand, the entry to the program (Witness Protection Program) is voluntary so even exit from the program is voluntary as well. If the witness is not there [WPP], he would have left voluntarily,” he added. IDL/rga