Duterte To Be Removed As President of Philippines After Hit Man Testifies He Ordered Killings

MANILA — In accordance with provisions in the Filipino constitution, Rodrigo Duterte would be immediately removed as president of the Philippines after a member of a hit squad that killed hundreds over the years has testified.

He hit man took part in about 50 of the murders himself. One victim was fed to crocodiles, he recalled, and four others were hanged and thrown into the sea, the man confessed.

Duterte is expected to resign immediately and face the court of law or would be ousted if he denies to resign voluntarily.

The self-described hit man, Edgar Matobato, said that Rodrigo Duterte, the new president of the Philippines, presided over the extrajudicial killings of about 1,000 criminals and political opponents when he was mayor of Davao City for most of the past two decades — even ordering some of the killings himself.

“We were tasked to kill criminals every day,” Mr. Matobato said Thursday at a televised Senate hearing investigating extrajudicial killings under Mr. Duterte in Davao City.

Mr. Duterte’s promise during his presidential campaign to pursue his antidrug push nationally has alarmed human rights groups, which fear that extrajudicial killings are eroding the rule of law in the Philippines, an important American ally in Asia.

International leaders have also expressed concern, including President Obama, who urged Mr. Duterte to observe the rule of law and human rights.

In his testimony, Mr. Matobato, 57, said he was appointed to the death squad, originally known as the Lambada Boys, after Mr. Duterte was first elected mayor of Davao in 1988. He said that the squad operated with the tacit approval of the Davao police.

In his most explosive remarks, Mr. Matobato said that he had heard Mr. Duterte personally order some of the killings carried out by the so-called Davao Death Squad.

A spokesman for the president, Martin Andanar, denied the charges on Thursday, saying of Mr. Duterte: “I don’t think he is capable of giving those orders.”

Mr. Duterte has a history of provocative remarks about criminal justice, including his assertion in 2009 that crime suspects were “a legitimate target of assassination.”

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