Disturbing scenario

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

We have been opposing the practice of vigilante-style killings because of the possibility that it would lead to abuse. Is the killing of Cebu-based businessman Richard King in Davao City a manifestation of the excesses the said practice can conjure?

The confession of the murder suspects who were arrested by the Southern Mindanao police recently tends to point to an extra-judicial hit--another operation of the well-oiled killing machinery in that city.

There wasn’t any talk of long-drawn planning to kill the businessman. It was as simple as identifying the target, shooting him and then leaving. The gunman didn’t even cover his face, an indication of supreme confidence that the long arm of the law wouldn’t reach him.


On the other hand, one of the gunman’s companions is said to be a police informant. The gunman himself was arrested in a firing range.

Supt. Leonardo Felonia, the police officer whom the suspects said identified the target for them spent a good chunk of his political career in Davao City, according to his profile posted in his blog.

He was said to have served at various times each of the city’s police stations, meaning that he knew of the “salvaging” of tens of suspected criminals in the city for more than a decade now. When King was killed, the official was heading an elite police intelligence unit.

King, according to the gunman, was described to him as a drug lord. If Felonia was behind the killing, did he have in his possession intelligence info that linked King to the illegal drugs trade?

To be fair, Felonia could be innocent and the three other suspects may be fall guys. Consider, too, that the task force created to look into King’s killing is still digging for a “mastermind.”

But the background of the suspects and their claim of receiving the order to kill King from a police intelligence officer already present a disturbing scenario of a possible extra-judicial killing.

That it happened in Davao City, supposed home of the so-called “Davao death squad,” is not helping to erase that suspicion.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 26, 2014.


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