City Administrator Wendel Avisado announced this in a 12 noon press conference at the lobby of the Royal Mandaya Hotel while on the ninth floor, Elaine Pearson, Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch, Asia Division, was wrapping up before the CHR’s public inquiry on extralegal killings, a preview into their soon-to-be-released report (see other story) that says among others, that the pattern of killings in the city and police officials’ seeming lack of interest in investigating the cases suggest a “state-sanctioned nature of death squad operations.”
Duterte, in a letter dated March 31 to Local Governments Secretary Ronaldo Puno in his capacity as chair of the National Police Commission (Napolcom), said he was “formally” tendering his “irrevocable resignation as the Deputized Representative of the National Police Commission effective immediately and thus relinquish general and operational control over all the local police forces in the city” to the city police chief, Sr. Supt. Ramon Apolinario.
The Napolcom is the agency mandated by the 1987 Constitution and the major police reform laws, to administer and control the Philippine National Police.
His two-paragraph letter ended with Duterte thanking Puno for “the privilege of being able to serve the commission” and expressing hope the Philippine National Police “can best handle the peace and order situation of my city.”
On March 13, Duterte also relinquished to the Army’s Task Force Davao the control and supervision of the counter-insurgency efforts in Paquibato district, claiming military abuses in the area have rendered him ineffective.
Duterte’s letter to Puno was copy furnished Apolinario and regional police chief, Chief Supt. Pedro Tango. Curiously, there was no “cc” to the CHR.
Duterte attended the morning session of the CHR’s public inquiry on Monday where he repeated previous statements that there are no state-sponsored killings in the city and that he would resign the mayoralty if “an iota of evidence” can be presented that he, the police or military, are behind the killings.
CHR chair Leila de Lima told the audience at the end of the Tuesday morning’s session that the CHR inquiry “is not the end, will not end when the CHR leave Davao.”
De Lima said there will be “a continuation of the inquiry in our central office,” adding “there are witnesses out there but are unwilling to testify at these proceedings but may be willing to testify” elsewhere.
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines Davao City chapter submitted Monday afternoon to the CHR its documentation of 890 cases of alleged summary killings from 1998 to March 27, 2009.
The death toll has risen to 892 as of 12 noon March 31 as two more persons were killed on March 28 and 29. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)