Up to 165 criminals had been summarily executed
in and around the city of Cebu since themayor unleashed his scorched-earth policy against crime, human rights groups and police say,adding that the figure could not be independently confirmed.Most of these extra-judicial killings had been attributed to self-styled, independent vigilantes andspecial police assets and or police officers who were encouraged to do so by the cityadministration.
The rash of summary executions of criminals began on December 22, 2004 within days after themayor announced the formation of special Hunter units to carry out his orders to stamp out crimeas quickly as possible. The first 14 victims, who were slain gangland-style between December 2004 and May 2005,were attributed to the mayor’s pronouncement against criminals.Up to 20 other suspected robbers and muggers, who were killed by motorcycle-riding gunmenwho drive by and launch attacks execution-style between June 2005 and January 2006, wereblamed on other vigilante groups that heeded the mayor’s call for a tough solution againstcriminals.In-between February 2006 and April 2008, the other 131 fatalities stemmed from violent turf wars between drug ring leaders in different villages inside and outside of the city.
How Much Were Spent to Kill Criminals?
City treasury check issuances to 14 traders and suppliers at the Carbon public market turned outto be concrete leads to the use of public funds for vigilantes and dead squads who worked at theheck and call of the chief city executive, says a confidential report
by the Commission on Auditin 2006. The money trail appeared to be payments for commodities and/or supplied procured from tradersbut no delivery receipts and/or formal billing information were available to justify theexpenditures, the COA findings disclose.Up to seven checks were written to duly named traders, at P22,000 or $400 each, for a total of P154,000, says senior City Hall staff who had access to the COA report. The other six checkswere for another P154,000 in amounts ranging from P11,000 to P19,250. The peso-dollarexchange at that time was 55 to one.Credit memos amounting to P296,485 were issued to three (3) traders in the Carbon market, whoacted as money conduits to police officers and militiamen who were hired to carry out theexecutions of petty criminals, gang-land style.