Wednesday, July 08, 2009

CHR finds mass grave in Davao City

MANILA, Philippines (Business Mirror / July 8, 2009) - A pile of bodies found by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in a remote Davao City section could be the secret mass grave of victims of summary executions in the city, where alleged drug pushers and users, hold-up men and persistent petty criminals have been disappearing for the past several years.

A special task force of the CHR investigating activities of an alleged Davao Death Squad found the grave.

The squad, reported to be dreaded by residents, is believed to be behind the deaths of suspected criminals who disappeared over the years, and their motive, according to sources, may be to gain full control of lucrative criminal activities in the city.

The CHR revealed it had received reports its multi-agency task force also found a man-made pit near a creek leading to the burial ground, where a human leg bone was discovered.

On July 5, the task force and a police Special Investigation Task Group team raided Gold Cup Firing Range in the city, earlier identified by a confessed death squad member as the location of several burial sites.

The team then implemented a search warrant from a Regional Trial Court in Manila to immediately search for the burial sites on the privately owned facility, said to be operated by retired SPO4 Bienvenido Laud.

The “several fragments” found in the first grave were identified by scene-of-the-crime operatives forensic experts to be “human remains.”

On July 6, Laud tried to stop the diggings, threatening to file charges, but instead of caving in, the task force applied for a search warrant for a wider area of the property.

The CHR office in Davao said the Regional Trial Court in the city where the new warrant was applied for has so far refused to issue one and just “reluctantly conducted summary proceedings,” and at one point the judge remarked, “alam nyo ba ang ginagawa nyo [Do you know what you are doing]?”

Until press time, the CHR was still waiting for a new warrant. (Jonathan Mayuga / Business Mirror)


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