Duterte and keeping the peace in Davao-A A +A
Monday, October 28, 2013
CRITICS say that everybody knows what happens to criminals in Davao City: they get killed. But they won't go as far as to say the seventh-term mayor, feisty Rodrigo Duterte, sanctions summary executions.
In April 2009, United Nations General Assembly of Human Rights Council said the mayor "has done nothing to prevent the killings and his public comments suggest he supports the executions." Asian Human Rights Council in the same year asked the government to look into the murders.
That prompted Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to make some noise and a flurry of moves, warning the mayor ("He's No. 1 in our list") and holding public hearings in Davao.
No one was prosecuted and the suspicion is that the murders continue but quietly this time, using knives, not handguns.
They used to keep count. A Mindanao newspaper in 2004 counted 52 summary killings; "International Herald Tribune" counted 72 in three months of 2005.
After 2009, nothing much is read or heard anymore about how Davao cracks the whip on criminals.
Mayor Duterte has also been careful about rekindling fire of indignation outside the city and country.
Rules of engagement
Speaking before graduates of a Swat training last Oct. 25, the mayor reportedly said, "I don't want to see a police officer dead. I want to see a terrorist or criminal dead. Huwag kayong magpa-una."
What peace-loving people will disagree with that?
Few will notice that the mayor didn't insist that cops follow rules of engagement, which, human rights advocates say, is crucial to protecting individual liberties.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 29, 2013.