Davao Death Squad hitman: VP Duterte brains behind Oplan Tokhang

MANILA. Retired police officer Arturo Lascañas.
MANILA. Retired police officer Arturo Lascañas.File photo

A SELF-CONFESSED Davao Death Squad (DDS) gunman has executed an affidavit to the International Criminal Court (ICC) amid its investigation on the alleged crime against humanity in the country under the drug war of the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a virtual press conference on Wednesday, January 31, 2024, retired police officer Arturo Lascañas said that Vice President Sara Duterte orchestrated the controversial “Oplan Tokhang,” which was implemented during her time as the Davao City’s mayor in 2012 with then Davao City Police chief Ronald dela Rosa.

“Sinabi sa akin ni Bato Dela Rosa na nag-craft sila ng panibago ngayong extrajudicial killing na campaign against illegal drugs which is Toktok Hangyo, meaning Tokhang,” he said.

(Bato Dela Rosa told me that they have crafted a new extrajudicial killing campaign against illegal drugs which is Toktok Hangyo, meaning Tokhang.)

“Mga target nila personalities sa illegal drugs. Lalo pa ang mga gumagamit ng shabu at nagbebenta. Sabi n’ya kidnapin ninyo, ilubog ninyo ang target. Para ang kaso missing person lang,” Lascañas added.

(Their targets are personalities in illegal drugs, especially shabu users and sellers. He said kidnap, sink the target. It's just a missing person case.)

He said based on his estimate, around 10,000 individuals were killed in Davao City alone under Vice President Duterte’s drug war.

Meanwhile, Lascañas accused the Vice President’s brother, former Davao City vice mayor now Congressman Paolo Duterte, of being a leader of a drug group.

He said he also worked for Congressman Duterte’s drug group, particularly as security escort in transporting bribe money, from which he receives around P50,000 to P70,000 per week.

Lascañas said Congressman Duterte receives P150,000 from him per week while he would give Dela Rosa P50,000 every seven days.

He said former President Duterte is also running a shabu laboratory in southern Mindanao.

“Niloloko mo mga Pilipino. Anong ginawa mo? Drug war? Anong drug war? Ikaw ang drug lord. Pinapapatay niya sa grupo namin ni SPO4 Ben Laud yung 11 Chinese workers and chemist ng Davao shabu lab at ng Barangay Obrero,” said Lascañas.

(You are fooling Filipinos. What are you doing? Drug war? What drug war? You are the drug lord. He had SPO4 Ben Laud and I kill the 11 Chinese workers and chemists of the Davao shabu lab and Barangay Obrero.)

“Ang gun collection ni Mayor Duterte during my time more than 1,000. Galing po ito kay Quiboloy. Nagbi-byahe si Quiboloy dala yung eroplano ni Duterte sa Amerika, nagdala yan ng spare parts, silencer. Mga bala. Mga parts,” he added.

(Mayor Duterte's gun collection during my time was more than 1,000. This is from Quiboloy. Quiboloy is traveling with Duterte's plane to America, it brought spare parts, silencer. Ammunition. Parts.)

Lascañas said along with his 186-page affidavit, he also submitted to the ICC a notebook containing his handwritten testimonies and other documentary evidences to support his claims against the Dutertes.

He warned President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. against the Dutertes, whom he tagged as “traitors” and “monsters.”

In response to the accusations against him, Dela Rosa urged Lascañas to file cases against him before a Philippine court if he really has pieces of evidence.

"Sige, go ahead. Pabayaan mo lang siya mag-allege nang mag-allege. Basta malinis ang konsensya ko. Bahala siya sa buhay niya," he said.

(All right, go ahead. Just let him say things. My conscience is clear. I don’t care.)

Earlier, Vice President Duterte said she would only face charges against her in court over claims of her alleged involvement in the DDS.

MANILA. Retired police officer Arturo Lascañas.
Sara Duterte denies involvement in DDS, Oplan Tokhang

She said these claims floated after she was elected as the second highest official of the land.

In 2017, a Senate investigation was launched over the alleged spate of killings in Davao City perpetrated by the DDS, which is allegedly working under former President Duterte.

Another self-confessed DDS hitman, Edgar Matobato, surfaced in the Senate hearings and testified about the killings perpetrated by the group.

Lascañas also faced the Senate inquiry where he initially denied involvement in the DDS, although he later recanted his denial and admitted that he took part in the killing of at least 300 individuals as a member of the group.

Around 6,000 alleged drug personalities were killed under former President Duterte’s drug war from 2016 to 2022, and this has been the focus of the ICC investigation.

The ICC reportedly had already finished the pre-trial investigation on the matter and that arrest warrants against former President Duterte and Dela Rosa will be out soon. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)


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