Pubdate: Fri, 27 Aug 2004
Source: Mindanao Times (Philippines)
Copyright: 2004 Mindanao Times.


We agree with Davao City Police Office director Senior/Supt. Conrado
Laza. There is no Davao Death Squad. In fact, there is no single group
that could be pointed as triggermen in the killings of civilians in
the city. There could be more than one group but the most active would
be the one who is privy to the 'list.'

We should listen closely to Mayor Rodrigo Duterte when he said there
are groups who are using the same modus operandi as the media-tagged
Davao Death Squad - motorcycle, 45 cal. pistol - in shooting suspected
illegal drugs users and traders, petty criminals and recently, a human
rights worker.

Taking out a person's life is so easy in the city. Anyone, for
whatever reasons, can just ride a motorcycle and shoot his enemies.
Killings, 66 persons as of last count this year, have become  common
place and have lulled the people into a state of apathy.

The pronouncement of government officials that killings do not detract
from the image of the city and has in fact propped it up, sends a
message to the killers that what they are doing - getting rid of the
so-called dregs of society - is good. Such callous and insensitive
remarks are secretly shared by a lot of people.

We share the view of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Davao
Chapter that there is a breakdown of the justice system if the
killings are allowed to continue.  Anyone can just shoot whoever he
wants killed without going through the due process of the law.  This
kind of justice harks back to primeval times, the law of the jungle,
yet most people do not seem to care if the pavement is awash in blood.
Most have become too indifferent.

The killings send chills down our spine. What if hitmen turn their
campaign of annihilation on other sectors who are not exactly poor?
Will the reaction be the same? 
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake