• PNP chief downplayed the existence of DDS
  • He said group a creation of media, said killings a work of vigilantes working alone
  • He also denied personally knowing Matobato though he has heard his name before

MANILA, Philippines – PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato Dela Rosa” downplayed the existence of the Davao Death Squad (DDS); saying the group was nothing but a creation of media.

In the aftermath of the Senate hearing on the spate of alleged extrajudicial killings, Dela Rosa said he found that the killings perpetrated in Davao City were committed by vigilantes working alone and not as a group.

“Ilang beses nang inimbestigahan ‘yung DDS na sinasabi nila. Creation lang ‘yan ng media pero wala talagang tao na nagsabi na may DDS na isang grupo. Alam ko may vigilante diyan kasi may namamatay nga e and ever since ilang beses ko hinahabol ‘yung vigilante na tinatawag nyo na DDS, ilang beses na hinahamon ko ng barilan dahil ayaw ko yang ginagawa nila na extrajudicial killings,” GMA News quoted him as saying.

[DDS had been investigated many times. Just a creation of the media but there’s no one who attested there’s indeed a DDS group. Iknow there are vigilantes because there are deaths and ever since I’ve ran after those called DDS, even challenged them to a gun fight because I am not in favor of those extrajudicial killings.]

Dela Rosa also denied knowing alleged DDS member Edgar Matobato personally although he had heard of his name.

“First time ko siya nakita although naririnig ko pangalan n’ya na tirador ‘yang si Matobato. Nandun daw siya sa opisina ko, ako daw nagbigay ng go-signal. Hindi ko nga siya kilala. ‘Yung mga tao na pinagsasabihan niya na pulis hindi ko, hindi ko mga tao ‘yun. Hindi ‘yun under sa akin. Wala kaming target na ganung pangalan,” he said. “Kapag tirador sa Davao mga gun for hire, binabayaran para kumitil ng buhay sa mga personal na kaso.”

[It was the first time I saw him although I’ve heard of his name, Matobato is a hitman. He professed he was in my office, that I gave the go signal. I don’t even know him. The police he mentioned, they’re not my men. Not under me. We didn’t have a target with that name.  Hitmen in Davao are gun for hire, paid to take lives over personal cases.]

The PNP chief added he would have arrested Matobato if he had met him back then.

“Kung kilala ko ‘yung mukha na ‘yan matagal ko nang hinuli ‘yan at kapag hinuli ko alam ko lalaban ‘yan dahil hitman nga e. Matagal na nagkabarilan nyan. Hindi ko nakita ‘yan, first time ngayon, nakita ko dito,” he said.

If I knew that face, I would have arrested him long before and when I arrest him, I know he would fight because he’s a hitman. Would have been a gun fight. I’ve never seen him, first time now, here.]