Press Release
November 29, 2018

Dispatch from Crame No. 427:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the Duterte Death Squad: Another sinister plan


Duterte's announcement to organize a death squad against the so-called Sparrow Units of the NPA cannot be taken lightly as another joke. It has been taken seriously by Defense Secretary Lorenzana.

Together with the issuance of MO 32 deploying additional troops to Samar, Negros, and the Bicol Region, the pronouncement on the death squad assumes a more sinister character as an escalation of the government's rhetoric against perceived threats and enemies.

Death squads are basically an instrument of repression. They are illegal by definition. This is why the PNP death squads under Duterte take all the trouble to mask their operations with the "nanlaban" narrative, because simply going out to hunt and kill alleged suspected criminals is still murder and therefore illegal.

Under Duterte's rule, this kind of state-sanctioned murder was made acceptable to the public. A death squad or squads especially organized to fight the NPA is a further legitimization of summary executions by this government.

The fact that the NPA's Sparrow Units are a thing of the past, and are no longer existing, makes the organization of "anti-Sparrow" death squads all the more suspicious. As he did with the PNP, Duterte now intends to seduce the AFP into the EJK culture, for them to have a taste of the blood, so to speak.

This has been Duterte's goal since the start of his drug war, to also lure the AFP into taking part in the summary execution of suspected criminals. He thinks that singling out the NPA as the targets for AFP death squads would serve as the AFP's introduction into this world of summary killings, a kind of a gateway drug whereby soldiers would then be eventually used for the liquidation of anyone he pleases.

From the very start, Duterte had only one policy and one solution to the peace and order problem: extra-judicial killings. He wants the entire country and government to embrace this policy. For some time, the AFP resisted his overtures to take part in this policy. For the AFP to now succumb to him would be a disaster for the country, as it would engulf us all in a bloodbath this sociopath of a President craves for.

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