A Close Ally of Duterte Killed KIDS With His Death Squads
In May 2014, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) published an article entitled, ““One Shot to the Head” – Death Squad Killings in Tagum City, Philippines” accusing the former Mayor of Tagum, Rey “Chiong” Uy of establishing the “Tagum Death Squad (TDS)” which is suspected of killing around 300 people from 1998 to 2013.
Uy is a CLOSE ALLY of former Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, and has come out to openly to support Duterte’s Presidential bid. Unfortunately for the TDS, not only were they accused of killing suspected Criminals, they also killed at least two children who were only nine and twelve years old. Below is an excerpt from HRW’s report.
Macky Lumangtad, 12, Killed on April 12, 2011
Macky Lumangtad, 12, was one of the many children who frequented the Freedom Park behind City Hall in Tagum City in the evenings. There he would play computer games with his friends at Net Central Café, a nearby Internet café.
According to Lumangtad’s mother, Carmelita Lumangtad, on the night of April 11, 2011, some of Lumangtad’s friends saw him being approached by a man they knew by the name of “Wacky.” Wacky frequented the plaza and would fence items such as cellphones stolen by the boys who hung out at the plaza. There were also rumors that Wacky had connections to the Tagum Death Squad. The next day, residents of Mipangi, a village in Maco town, Compostela Valley province, which is adjacent to Tagum City, found Lumangtad’s body in a vacant lot bearing a gunshot wound to the head.
Carmelita told Human Rights Watch that her son’s murder followed police suspicions that he was part of a group of children who carried out thefts, an allegation she denied. “The police thought he was part of the group that stole 40,000 pesos [US$900] as well as cellphones from a store on April 8, 2011. But he was not. [The thieves] were his friends, but he was not with them when the alleged crime happened,” she said. Carmelita said she believes that her son’s abductor must have been familiar to him as he would never have consented to leave the plaza in the company of a stranger.
Carmelita’s efforts to get the police to investigate her son’s murder proved futile. She said that each time she visited the Maco police station, she was told there were no new developments in the case. Instead, the police officers would often attempt to solicit information from her about her son’s case. “I don’t think the police have investigated properly,” she said. She tried asking the National Bureau of Investigation but she said she lacked the money for legal representation or even just transportation costs to follow-up on the case. About the only assistance Carmelita received was from the Social Welfare and Development Office of the City Hall, which paid for her son’s “pauper’s burial.”
When queried about Lumangtad’s death, the police precinct at City Hall could not produce any investigation report. The boy’s family could not even get a copy of the official police blotter of the murder. Even the Social Welfare and Development Office, which handles child safety and welfare matters, could not locate any report on the killing in its files. According to a social worker, police often just filed official reports of killings of poor people like Lumangtad to funeral homes.
Jenny Boy “Kokey” Lagulos, 9, Killed on April 12, 2011
Although only 9 years old, Jenny Boy “Kokey” Lagulos was implicated by people interviewed by Human Rights Watch in the April 8, 2011, theft of money and phones from a store at the Trade Center in Tagum City. Residents found Lagulos’s body on April 12, 2011, on Tagum’s Lapu-Lapu Street just hours after the discovery of Macky Lumangtad’s body. Media reports quoting the police stated that Lagulos’s body bore 22 stab wounds.
According to a report by John Paul Seniel, a journalist for GMA News Television in Davao City, two boys saw the abduction of Lagulos on the night of April 12. An employee at the Gold City bowling alley in Tagum who also worked as an informant for the death squad brought Lagulos to a dark corner of Lapu-Lapu Street where two men on motorcycles were waiting. One of them, allegedly a member of the Tagum Death Squad named Renster “Renren” Azarcon, then stabbed Lagulos repeatedly.
Seniel said that his efforts to get government officials to comment on Lagulos’s murder proved futile: “There was no police investigation, but they also denied that such a killing was committed by the government.” In his television report, Seniel said social welfare officials responded to his queries by saying that they could not comment about the case.
Jomarie Abayon, a former TDS member, told Human Rights Watch that he was one of four members tasked to look for the children who stole from the store, including Lumangtad and Lagulos. “[Lagulos] had become notorious. We had been receiving a lot of complaints against him and his group,” Abayon told Human Rights Watch. Those complaints included allegations by store owners and residents near the plaza that Lagulos and his group of friends frequently created disturbances in and around the plaza by fighting with each other, snatching cellphones and, according to a Tagum City social worker, sometimes harassing female passersby.
Romnick Minta, another former member of the death squad, also alleged that Azarcon killed Lagulos. Minta said Azarcon used a knife he called a “Rambo” knife because it resembled the one Sylvester Stallone used in the movie First Blood.
According to Lagulos’s relatives, the police could not explain the boy’s murder and that they had not identified any suspects.
Up to now none of the killers of these two kids were brought to justice.