Duterte’s death squad signals open season for killing Filipinos

“As if this sham drug war and Duterte’s counterinsurgency program is not enough, this government is continuously coming up with more sinister schemes to kill more Filipinos. The process of identifying targets will inevitably be arbitrary and will result in the deaths of activists and critics already red-tagged by this government and of the poor in its anti-drug campaign. This is an insidious ploy that will add to the number of murders that this regime has already ruthlessly committed – all denied of their right to due process,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on President Duterte’s statement creating a death squad to target the New People’s Army (NPA) and “idlers” in a recent speech at Camp Rajah Sikatuna in Carmen, Bohol.

“Thousands have already been killed by riding-in-tandem assailants, masked gunmen, private armies, paramilitary groups, and the government’s foremost trusted mercenaries – the AFP and PNP. They are Duterte’s death squad, and pushing through with another of the President’s neurotic and fascist ideas will further legitimize the reign of terror perpetrated by government forces in communities,” Palabay added.

The PNP and the AFP, unsurprisingly, have expressed support for the formation of a “hit squad”, even vying to have either police officers or soldiers to do the job. Police Director General Oscar Albayalde said he wants candidates for this “hit squad” to be processed and qualified while Department of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana stated that soldiers are best fit for the carrying out the task of neutralizing the NPA, complete with clearance from the top ranks of the military. Palabay said that “the PNP and AFP have a long, bloody reputation behind them, so it is unsurprising that they would loudly cheer for Duterte. Plus, they have a new way of funneling government money to their pockets! It is no secret how these schemes facilitate corruption. What a field day for these murderers who are not only accorded with a license to kill, but also given an additional source of corruption.”

“Duterte and his minions have already killed thousands in cold blood, yet he still hell-bent on turning the entire country into a killing field, adding one repressive policy on top of another,” noted Palabay, adding that at the backdrop of Duterte’s statement are the state of emergency in Visayas, martial law in Mindanao, the war on drugs, Oplan Kapayapaan, and the Human Security Act, among others.

“This government only knows war, diversion and corruption, and is hell-bent on peddling militarist policies at the expense of the Filipino people. This is State terrorism, and it is shamelessly justified by a government which evidently gives no regard for human rights,” Palabay ended.