Target: President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III
Goal: Prosecute death squad responsible for extrajudicial killings in the Philippines
An alleged “death squad” is responsible for hundreds of extrajudicial killings in the Tagum City of the Philippines. Evidence shows that there has been at least 298 killings since January 2007 to March 2013, and the killers responsible should have been brought to justice. Killings of this caliber should be stopped, even if those targeted are criminals.
It’s reported that the local government of Tagum City are the rumored death squad, including the former mayor Rey “Chiong” Uy and police officers. These killings are not sanctioned and the group goes after drug dealers, petty criminals, and street children. The former mayor allegedly financed many of the killing operations, calling these citizens ‘weeds.’ At its peak, the operation had fourteen hit men and accomplices. The death squad also believe that they are a source of crime control in the city. For the past decade they’ve been able to harass and threaten both innocent and guilty citizens of the town.
Human Rights Watch interviewed both surviving victims and former death squad members. Former members described how those who were reluctant to carry out orders, fell into disfavor, or simply left, became targets themselves for the death squad. The twelve killings that Human Rights Watch was able to document happened outside, with hit men wearing baseball caps, wielding .45 caliber handguns. Former squad members spoke of warning the local police where their intended target was so they wouldn’t interfere. Even without the former mayor’s consent, the squad would carry out their own “guns for hire” operations, where a journalist, a judge, two police officers, and a tribal leader lost their lives. Each hit man was paid $110 per kill.
Many of the citizens in Tangum City were forced into silence about these deaths. There has been little investigation from local or national authorities, with many victims and citizens claiming they were too terrified of retribution to do anything. These fear tactics and killings must stop. Sign this petition and help the citizens who are suffering within their home town.
Dear President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III,
I am writing this letter about a pressing concern in Tagum City. The people living in this city are living in constant fear of a group called the “death squad” that targets and kills whomever they please. Those that have been targeted are drug dealers, petty criminals, or street children. Calling these citizens “weeds”, the group has also turned into guns for hire, killing innocent and prominent people.
The citizens in this city are too afraid to speak up, for fear of receiving retribution. This activity cannot go on and I am urging you to issue an investigation. As the leader of your country, it is your job to ensure that your citizens are safe.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Mike Gonzalez via Wikimedia