World Bulletin / News Desk
A self-proclaimed former member of a militia has accused President Rodrigo Duterte of ordering the killing of suspected criminals and the bombing of a mosque.
At the time of the murders, Duterte was mayor of Davao City, then a chaotic but now a bustling urban center in the Philippines' south.
Edgar Matubato made the accusation Thursday during a Senate hearing on extra judicial killings that have been attributed to Duterte's nationwide war on drugs.
Matubato said he was recruited to a death squad with five others in 1988, when Duterte first served as mayor.
Under questioning by Senator Leila de Lima -- a staunch critic of Duterte's bloody campaign -- Matubato claimed to have killed around 50 people from 1988 to 2013.
Under Duterte, Davao transformed from a crime ridden hovel to a peaceful and investment-friendly city, where he imposed bans on public smoking, and the selling of alcohol and the operation of entertainment spots past midnight.
In 2015, however, Amnesty International alleged that “death squads” under his control were responsible for 700 extrajudicial executions in the region.
Duterte is reported to have responded that it was more like 1,700.
"Our job is to kill criminals like drug pusher, rapist, snatcher. These are the people we kill everyday," ABS-CBN News quoted Matubato as saying during the hearing.
The witness claimed he is testifying against Duterte to atone for his sins.
"I want justice for my sins. I killed people. I want our countrymen to know what we did in Davao," said Matubato, who also accused Duterte of ordering the bombing of a Davao City mosque in 1993, claiming the former mayor believed it was connected to an explosion at a Catholic cathedral of Davao City earlier that year.
"He went to our office and told Major Asindista to [carry out the] massacre," he said.
Asked if he personally saw Duterte issuing the order, Matubato said: "I was at the office. I was always beside the officials. He may be seeking revenge for the bombing of the cathedral."
He claimed, however, that there were no injuries since there was no prayer service at the mosque during the attack, adding that Duterte ordered the hit squad to "capture" and "kill" suspects related to the cathedral blast.
Matubato said his group had also kidnapped and killed four supporters of former House Speaker Prospero Nograles on the orders of Duterte, then his bitter political rival.
Nograles ran twice against Duterte in the 1992 and 1998 mayoral elections, but lost both times.
According to the Philippines national police, nearly 3,000 drug-related killings have been reported since Duterte assumed office June 30.
Of the 3,000 deaths, 1,490 are under investigation as of Sept. 10 with authorities blaming suspected vigilante groups.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Eylül 2016, 10:25