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Thread: NSFW - Philippines war on drugs - 6000 lives taken in five months

  1. #51
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    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/philipp...e-death-squad/

    Update

    MANILA, Philippines -- A Roman Catholic priest who was one of the earliest critics of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's deadly crackdown on drugs has gone into hiding due to what he says were signs he's being targeted by motorcycle-riding hitmen. The Rev. Amado Picardal said Monday that he has gone into a "more secure location" and out of the public view after workers in a Catholic monastery that he visits in central Cebu city reported seeing motorcycle-riding men watching the compound, including a pair who asked for his whereabouts.

    "I couldn't go out for biking, running, walking due to security concerns," Picardal said in an email in response to questions about his safety concerns, which he first disclosed in a personal blog.

    "I have left my hermitage in the mountain and transferred to a more secure location to continue my life as a hermit far away out of reach from the death squad," he said.

    The 63-year-old priest said that he helped document alleged extrajudicial killings under Duterte's campaign when Duterte was still mayor of southern Davao city and that he would continue criticizing the killings despite his safety concerns.

    Picardal added that he is willing to testify if asked by the International Criminal Court, where a complaint against Duterte in relation to the drug killings is being examined.

    Duterte has denied condoning killings under the crackdown, which according to official police pronouncements has left more than 4,500 suspects dead since he took office in mid-2016. International human rights watchdogs have cited far higher death tolls, which they said included innocent children and civilians.

    Duterte draws outrage by calling God "stupid"
    The tough-talking president has often cited the killings and wounding of many policemen in anti-narcotics raids as proof of the fatal risks that prompt law enforcers to open fire on drug suspects. Human rights groups, which have looked into some of the killings, however, have reported cases where policemen killed unarmed suspects but later made them appear to have violently resisted.

    Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Picardal should file for a so-called writ of amparo "if there's basis for his fears," referring to a high court petition that aims to protect the human rights of anybody who feels threatened by state forces.

    Picardal gained public attention with his cross-country biking to protest the drug killings and promote peace talks with communist rebels.

    When he was assigned in Davao, Picardal said he compiled a report on drug killings from 1998 to 2015, when Duterte served as mayor of the vast port city, and spoke for a nongovernment coalition that opposed extrajudicial killings and helped the Commission on Human Rights investigate the deaths.

    Duterte has said none of those investigations turned up any evidence against him. Picardal said the investigations failed to pin down Duterte then because witnesses against him "were scared to testify." A number of witnesses linking Duterte to the killings, however, have turned up in Senate investigations after Duterte rose to the presidency, Picardal said, adding that he has helped provide sanctuary to former members of the so-called "Davao death squads" who may testify before the ICC.

    "This is most likely one of the reasons that I am being targeted by the death squad," Picardal said.

    In an interview with The Associated Press in May 2016, Picardal recounted how he helped poor families bury young men killed by gunmen in Davao after being linked to illegal drugs. He said then that a Duterte presidency was "very frightening" and warned that human rights groups would need to keep a close watch and document any violations due to Duterte's threat to replicate his anti-crime style in Davao to the rest of the country.

    Picardal said in his blog late Sunday that he was aware of the danger when he took up his human rights advocacy. "I am ready to accept martyrdom if they catch up with me, but I do not seek it nor do I make myself an easy target," he said.

  2. #52
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    Another Update on the Squad

    https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/ri...ruben-carranza

    MANILA, Philippines ? The welfare of the families left behind should not be compromised as accountability is being pursued over the thousands of deaths under President Rodrigo Duterte's bloody anti-drug campaign.

    According to international human rights lawyer Ruben Carranza, ensuring support for the families would help them in their grueling quest for justice for their loved ones.

    "I think what's important is to ensure that families of victims, witnesses to the extrajudicial killings, receive the kind of support that they need, economically and socially, especially given that this is going to be a long process," he told Rappler editor-at-large Marites Vitug on Friday, September 7.

    Duterte's anti-drug campaign has claimed the lives of more than 4,500 people in police operations. But human rights groups estimate the number of fatalities at more than 20,000, including victims of vigilante killings. (READ: The Impunity Series)

    Victims' families also face several problems amid the climate of impunity, including being harassed and threatened as they file cases against alleged perpetrators, who are usually policemen.

    This reality, according to Carranza, is the reason why witness protection is very important.

    "Witness protection requires more than a government program, especially here where it is the government that stands accused of extrajudicial killings," he said.

    Not taking care of possible witnesses who may be subjected to harassment can lead to problems. For example, witnesses in Kenya were "intimidated and are frightened."

    Carranza also said human rights groups and lawyers must pursue accountability everywhere, not just before the International Criminal Court. (READ: ICC's track record and what it means for Duterte and the PH)

    They should be ready "for any opportunity that arises that will help them pursue accountability."

    "It can be a local court, a transition in which a new government decides it can actually prosecute crimes against humanity and extrajudicial killings committed in the country, and they can prepare for a United Nations commission of inquiry," Carranza said. ? Rappler.com

  3. #53
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    https://negroschronicle.com/a-dangerous-man-indeed/

    Update an editorial on the Duterte era is at play here.

  4. #54
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    https://www.rappler.com/nation/21351...rders-killings


    Update in the Philippines a vigilante gang claims that he killed under orders by a police chief.

  5. #55
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    https://www.rappler.com/nation/21360...s-claim-police

    MANILA, Philipines – At least two suspects supposedly neutralized during police operations were really killed by a vigilante group in Tondo, Manila, upon orders of the police.

    In the 3rd of the 7-part Murder in Manila series, "Get It From the Chief," sources claimed that 35-year-old John Mark Mendoza alias "Toyo" and a certain Sitoy were killed by the Confederate Sentinels Group (CSG) Tondo Chapter 2, a vigilante group allegedly backed by the police.

    A 6-month investigation led by Patricia Evangelista and Carlo Gabuco found that the details narrated by one of Toyo's men and Simon*, a member of the CSG, contradicted official police e-blotter reports accessed by Rappler.

    –– ADVERTISEMENT ––


    In the case of Toyo, one of his men told Rappler that witnesses saw Ricardo Villamonte, alias Commander Maning, allegedly kill his boss "except none of them will talk." Commander Maning is the alleged leader of the CSG.

    In an interview with Rappler, Maning said he knew nothing about Toyo's death.

    A police e-blotter, however, showed that Toyo was killed during an Operation Tokhang in July 2016, after he allegedly put up a fight.

    Rappler's sources said the order of battle extended to all of Toyo's remaining men upon his death.

    One of them was Sitoy, who liked to wear a pair of grenades on a string around his neck. In January 2017, Simon told Rappler that CSG members "shot him in the ass so he couldn't run. And then he went for his grenade. The pin was taped down and he was ripping it off. So we shot him again."

    The vigilantes eventually called the police who arrived with a bomb squad. The killing of Sitoy, according to Simon, was ordered by the police.

    Despite Sitoy's death being called a "CSG kill," a police e-blotter report indicated that he was cornered after police hunted down a group of men who robbed a jeepney. Cops shot at him when he fought back.

    Police Superintendent Robert Domingo, station commander of Manila Police District-Police Station 1 at the time, even said on national television that the cops "had no choice."

    Domingo is alleged to have ordered other killings carried out by CSG Tondo Chapter 2. Domingo declined to comment despite repeated requests.

    READ MORE ON THE MURDER IN MANILA SERIES:
    PART 1: 'Some People Need Killing'
    PART 2: 'The Cops Were Showing Off'
    PART 3: 'Get It From the Chief'

    – Rappler.com

    Editor's Note:
    All quotes in Filipino have been translated into English. At their request, Rappler has changed or withheld names of sources for their own safety.

  6. #56
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    https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/in...eries-part-one

    More on Duterte

    After more than two years and an estimated 23,518 deaths under investigation, Rappler tells the story of President Rodrigo Duterte’s drug war from the eyes of the killers.

    In early 2017, the Philippine National Police (PNP) arrested members of a vigilante gang suspected of preying on drug suspects and criminals in Tondo, Manila. The group was a local chapter of the Confederate Sentinels Group (CSG). More than a year after the arrests, most of the men implicated remain free.

    Rappler’s 6-month investigation shows strong indications that the police were outsourcing extrajudicial killings to the same vigilante gang they accused of murder.

    According to individuals with knowledge of CSG Tondo Chapter 2’s activities, officials of the PNP coordinated with vigilantes, selected targets, took credit for murders, and on occasion paid for assassinations in the name of the war against drugs.

    The story, to be published in 7 daily installments, includes on-the-record testimony from CSG officials, police officers, affected community members, as well as two of CSG Tondo Chapter 2’s self-confessed vigilantes. At their request, Rappler has changed or withheld their names for their own safety. Angel and Simon are not their real names.

    “They killed him,” police director general Ronald dela Rosa, then Philippine National Police chief, told the media on the afternoon of February 9, 2017. “They snatched him and killed him and put him in a sack.”

    The victim was a 16-year-old named Charlie Saladaga. Between his abduction on New Year of 2017 and the discovery of his body a day later, Charlie had been shot in the face, stuffed into a sack, and tossed into the breakwater of Isla Puting Bato in Tondo, Manila. His 14-year-old sister had identified his kidnappers as members of a local gang called the Confederate Sentinels Group (CSG).

    According to the police, the CSG had threatened the Saladaga family – at least once at gunpoint – so badly that Charlie’s mother Cristina finally walked up to the Manila Police District to file a complaint. Within hours, police raided the CSG’s outpost along Road 10 in Village 105. Law enforcement operatives confiscated a number of items, including mobile phones, a .38 caliber revolver, two homemade shotguns, and a variety of scattered ammunition. CSG members Manuel Murillo, Alfredo Alejan, and Marco Morallos were arrested.

    “This is their uniform,” Dela Rosa told reporters, holding up a black shirt, with the words CSG, Tondo 2, Barangay 105 printed on the back. “Confederate Sentinel Group. A civilian volunteer organization that apparently became a vigilante group killing robbery suspects. That’s why they targeted the kid. They killed him. They said he was a thief.” (Dela Rosa told Rappler he stood by all his statements during the press conference.)

    CNN Philippines carried the press conference live. The national media was in attendance. The gold stars of the PNP’s top brass were on full display: on the shoulders of then national chief of police Dela Rosa, regional director Oscar Albayalde, and district director Joel Coronel. All of them were surrounded by assorted investigators and enforcers, some of whom forced back the bent heads of the three suspects ranged behind General Dela Rosa.

    “They are here now,” said the general. “We’ve confiscated their guns, all their guns, and they have admitted to what they’ve done.”

    The man who called himself a killer sat on the edge of the hotel room bed. The recorder blinked red.

    “I was scared of killing at first, but not anymore,” he said. “It’s like drugs. You get addicted. Then you’re okay.”

    The man on the bed was called Simon. It was not his real name. Where he came from, weasels were shot with no questions asked, and Simon did not want to die.

    Simon was baptized Roman Catholic, and considered himself a religious man. He was 25 years old the first time he committed murder. He looked over his shoulder for weeks, terrified someone had seen him drag the body into an alley. For years he lived in Aroma, a chunk of Tondo’s Village 105, where grimy two-story tenement buildings open into dirt roads layered with garbage and last year’s rotten Happy Meal. “If you’re not from here,” said a local, “you won’t come out alive. Even the cops stay away.”

    “Every kind of dangerous person lives in Aroma,” said Simon. “Hitmen. Addicts. The men on the Most Wanted lists. They come to Aroma to hide.”

    Simon was a member of CSG Tondo Chapter 2. “It’s what you’d call a vigilante group,” he said, lighting a cigarette.

    He said he was recruited by a civilian named named Ricardo Villamonte.

    Villamonte, known to his men as Commander Maning, outfitted his marshals in royal blue and black CSG shirts. It was Commander Maning who gave the orders, said Simon. This man, that man, get it done, do the job – you, you, and you. The names of targets were announced at the CSG outpost. The photos were posted on the walls.

    “After Duterte, the killing was automatic, one after another,” said Simon. The recruits went on patrols – “just parades” – but the killing happened outside of official rounds.

    Commander Maning denied this in an interview with Rappler on October 3, saying that allegations of summary killings were “all hearsay.”

    Simon said he didn’t know about the murders until he was a CSG member, but he wasn't troubled by the killings. He voted for Rodrigo Duterte because he believed in the war against drugs. Simon wanted the addicts out. He wanted the dealers stopped. He had killed two men for the CSG in the last two years, possibly more in the three months since his interview.

    “I’m really not a bad guy,” said Simon. “I’m not all bad. Some people need killing.”

    It was a single death that put an end to CSG Tondo Chapter 2. Seven months after the declaration of the drug war, the police went on national television to announce a vigilante group had been arrested for the murder of a young boy.

    Simon shook his head. He called the murder of Charlie Saladaga a mistake.

    “They really shouldn’t have killed him.”

    At the press conference on February 9, a police official held up an enlarged photo of a gangly young man splayed on the ground. Part of his body was still inside what appeared to be a torn sack. Then-police chief Dela Rosa, who was reading the arrest report into the microphone, interrupted himself to identify the corpse. “This is the picture of the kid who was salvaged, then stuffed into a sack.”

    Dela Rosa claimed the suspects had confessed. He called one of the 3 men to the microphone. Manuel Murillo, alias Joel, 33 years old, listed jobless in his booking sheet, had earlier told a Philippine Star reporter the CSG participated in “vigilante-style killings.” Dela Rosa ordered Murillo to repeat “what you told me earlier.”

    “It was our Commander Maning who – ,” Murillo began.

    “Properly, speak properly,” interrupted Dela Rosa.

    “It was Commander Maning,” said Murillo.

    “What?”

    “Commander Maning, sir.”

    “Who is he?”

    “He’s the one who gave us orders.”

    In an interview with Rappler, Ricardo Villamonte, alias Commander Maning, said Murillo “was crazy.”

    Asked why Murillo became a member of CSG Tondo Chapter 2 given his alleged mental state, Commander Maning told Rappler “we thought he wasn't crazy then.”


    KILLED. A photo of 16-year-old Charlie Saladaga, shown by police at a press conference in Camp Crame on February 9, 2017. Screengrab from CNN Philippines

    Manila Police District Chief Joel Coronel, who took over the podium for Dela Rosa, admitted that the CSG had been accredited as peacekeepers by the PNP. He said they had never been authorized to carry arms. He said they had been operating in Tondo for at least 5 months. He said the police had “monitored through several complaints that this group has been engaged in summary killings” and that there were “about 10 persons engaged in these extrajudicial or vigilante killings,” although Dela Rosa also said the group may have had up to 200 members.

    Coronel said the CSG killed to protect the drug trade and other criminal activities. They targeted suspects from enemy gangs, and murdered “to instill fear and panic in people.”

    “The commander is a certain Ricardo Villamonte, the alleged leader of the Confederate Sentinel Group, the CSG,” Coronel said. “Initially the victims thought they were members of the police, or PNP personnel. They’re just civilians, or not in the uniformed service.”

    The PNP said they had investigated the confiscated mobile phones. They had discovered, from messages and further tactical interrogation, that the CSG was responsible for at least 3 more homicides before Charlie Saladaga was killed. The PNP named the dead: Rene Desierto, Oliver Pableo, and Daniel Mendoza Pe?alosa. (Coronel did not respond to Rappler's request for an interview.)

    Those cases, announced Dela Rosa, were “considered solved.” The suspects had been identified. Dela Rosa said cases would be filed to formalize the complaint.

    The PNP definition for a solved case requires that “an offender has been identified, there is sufficient evidence to charge him/her, the offender has been taken into custody, and offender has been charged before the prosecutors office or court of appropriate jurisdiction.” (Rappler filed a Freedom of Information request for all solved cases since 2016 at the Manila Police District. There has been no response.)

  7. #57
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    https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/in...eries-part-one

    ANother section from this article

    “Commander Maning told us we were forming a group in Tondo,” a second CSG vigilante, Angel, told Rappler. “He told us our job was to clean out the thieves and drug dealers. He said we’d try to clean up Tondo.”

    Angel sat on a blue couch, as close to the door as he could get in a small hotel room with the windows shuttered. Angel was not his real name. He rode a motorcycle hours to make it to the interview in a city of his choosing, and nearly ran away just before he made contact. “I thought it might have been a setup,” he said.

    Angel had wandered into CSG mostly by chance. His friends had been recruited. They told Angel to bring his guns. There was a meet, they said. Come along, we have a job.

    “I found out later that every time they said we had a job they meant we were going to kill,” said Angel.

    That first night, the men sent in Angel first. He went down the side of a road and found himself a corner. The target came strolling by.

    “I wasn't ready when they shot him,” Angel said. “I went, ‘Oh.’”

    Oh, he said, and then everyone ran. Angel did not remember how many gunshots there were, only that there were two shooters in the wind the moment the corpse hit the ground.

    Angel became one of CSG’s veteran vigilantes. At its height, sometime between July 2016 and early 2017, Rappler's sources said, CSG Chapter 2 in Tondo had an estimated 25 to 40 members. They were garbage truck operators, jeepney drivers, scavengers, security guards, construction workers – a small army of true believers who, at least in the beginning, considered themselves soldiers in Rodrigo Duterte’s war against drugs.

    Angel cannot remember the name of every man he killed. He remembered instead where each of them were shot. Sometimes the targets were waylaid where they worked, outside of Tondo, because “you need to lie low when the area gets hot.” There were the two men in Payatas. There was the one in Caloocan. There was the last in Blumentritt, and Angel was sure he was never given a name.

    He said it was Commander Maning who set the bounty for each dead target. It ranged from P30,000 ($554)* to P40,000 ($739), although it once went as high as P100,000 ($1,848). The money was split among members of the kill team: driver, shooter, lookouts, backup, finisher. Angel said the lowest he had been paid was P8,000 ($148). (Rappler was unable to confirm this allegation with Commander Maning, who refused to answer further questions. He left after a 7-minute interview).

    “We only got paid if we killed,” Angel said. Simon said he was never paid, in spite of the promise of P20,000 ($370) for every execution.

    By their reckoning, Angel and Simon said Chapter 2 of CSG Tondo executed more than 20 people within the first 7 months of Duterte’s war against drugs.

    “The police knew,” said Angel. “They can’t not know. We couldn’t have operated in that area if they didn’t know.” – Rappler.com

    Editor's note: All quotations have been translated into English. Rappler sought an interview with former National Capital Region Police Office head and now PNP chief Oscar Albayalde, but he was unavailable. Manila Police District Director Joel Coronel, at the time of this publication, has not replied.

  8. #58
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    https://www.rappler.com/nation/21350...k-tondo-manila

    MANILA, Philippines – Contrary to public statements made by officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP), their local unit was well aware of the killing operations conducted by a vigilante group in Tondo, Manila, during the first 7 months of the Duterte administration.

    A 6-month investigation by Rappler’s Patricia Evangelista found that the police appear to have outsourced extrajudicial killings to the Confederate Sentinels Group – a group they accused of murder in a press conference in February 2017.

    In the first part of the 7-part Murder in Manila series, "Some People Need Killing," self-confessed vigilante Angel (not his real name) told Rappler that it was impossible for the local police not to know the involvement of the Tondo chapter of the CSG in the killings carried out in the name of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

    “The police knew,” Angel said. “They can’t not know. We couldn’t have operated in that area if they didn’t know.”

    CSG and its “role” in the killings were exposed after the death of 16-year-old Charlie Saladaga, who was abducted, shot in the face, and tossed into the breakwater of Isla Puting Bato in Tondo. His sister identified his abductors as members of the CSG.

    Manila Police District Chief Joel Coronel admitted during a press conference in February 2017 – where they presented 3 suspects behind Saladaga's killing – that the CSG was accredited by the PNP as peacekeepers, but added that it was never authorized to carry weapons.

    Angel, however, said that a certain Ricardo Villamonte alias Commander Maning told them during the group’s early days that their job “was to clean out thieves and drug dealers. He said we’d try to clean up Tondo.”

    Angel said he was asked to go "on the job," unaware, at the time, that the job meant killing.

    Commander Maning was allegedly the person who gave out the orders for the killings of at least 20 people within the first 7 months of the war on drugs. The bounty ranged from P30,000 ($554) to P40,000 ($739) per hit, and money was split among members of the kill team.

    Commander Maning denied this in an interview with Rappler, adding that that allegations of summary killings were “all hearsay.”

    He was also named by Coronel and one of the suspects on national television as the CSG’s leader. Coronel said the group killed to protect the drug trade and “instill fear and panic in people.”

  9. #59
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    https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/in...eries-part-two

    https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/in...ies-part-three


    Updates on the Vigilante issue in the Philippines. Dang this is like in Mexico and India where they had to face similar death squads like the Philippines.

  10. #60
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    https://www.rappler.com/nation/21387...tter-kid-adult

    Update on the various vigilantes in the Philippines.

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    https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/in...ries-part-four

    Now the CSG the Confederate Sentinels Group comes into play as a Vigilante Gang in the Philippines.

    After more than two years and an estimated 23,518 deaths under investigation, Rappler tells the story of the drug war from the eyes of the killers.

    In early 2017, the Philippine National Police arrested members of a vigilante gang suspected of preying on drug suspects and criminals in Tondo, Manila's most densely populated and largest slum area. The group was a local chapter of the Confederate Sentinels Group (CSG). More than two years after the arrests, most of the men implicated remain free.

    Rappler’s 6-month investigation shows strong indications the police were outsourcing extrajudicial killings to the same vigilante gang they accused of murder. According to individuals with knowledge of CSG Tondo Chapter 2’s activities, officials of the PNP coordinated with vigilantes, took credit for murders, and on occasion paid for assassinations in the name of the war against drugs.

    This fourth of seven stories, published in installments during the course of this week, includes on-the-record testimony from community members as well as two of CSG’s self-confessed vigilantes. At their request, Rappler has changed or withheld their names for their own safety. Angel and Simon are not their real names.

    “Recently," said the man looking into the lens, "I, with the members of CSG, endorsed the candidacy for president of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, because we know that he is the only leader with courage and compassion.”

    The man in the video posted is Alvin Constantino, director of the Confederate Sentinels Group, or CSG. The clip was posted on his personal YouTube channel two days before the 2016 presidential elections.

    In the video, Constantino announced that he had ordered his chief marshal to deploy marshal and medical units to then-mayor Duterte’s rally at Luneta Park. Constantino asked viewers to join him in electing “President Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on May 9 as president of our country.”

    As the camera zoomed in, Constantino raised a fist inside a black leather riding glove, a red rubber baller band wrapped around the knuckles. The band read “Duterte.”


    Alvin Kyle Constantino is a 37-year-old Air Force reserve officer with an affection for bandanas and mirrored sunglasses. His adult career was a mix of “a lot of jobs, too many,” but he now makes a living opening and running canteens.

    Constantino registered the Confederate Sentinels Group Incorporated (CSG) in 2009 at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to work “within the purview of social welfare and development." Its main office, CSG’s national headquarters, was donated by Constantino's mother – his family ran apartment rentals – and was the base for CSG’s 4,000-strong volunteer organization.

    He told Rappler that the group lived by the bible’s Matthew 25:35-46: “That part where Matthew says, ‘Feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked and welcome the strangers.’” The group was meant to be “protectors of the weak and needy,” offering medical missions, relief and rescue operations, and anti-criminality campaign programs.

    While the group runs an annual fund-raising effort and receives occasional dues from its chapters, the most the CSG has ever raised in a year was P120,000 ($2,210)*, less than half the organization's actual spending. Constantino said his family provided the bulk of the CSG’s budget. They treat the organization as a family operation.

    “That’s our offering to God," he said, "ourselves, our treasure, our time, our effort, to glorify his name.”

    The CSG’s roughly thirty chapters are spread across the country. In 2016, there were two chapters in Tondo, Manila. One of them, Tondo Chapter 2, led by Ricardo Villamonte, alias Commander Maning, never progressed beyond “a probationary chapter.”

  12. #62
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    https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/in...ries-part-four

    Here is more on the CSG's Leader

    Constantino ran the CSG from a small room, much like the inner sanctums of police station commanders across the country. There was a single desk with the Philippine flag to the left and the CSG flag to the right at the center. There was a poster with the face of President Duterte taped to the door, a large bulletin board with the photos and names of CSG’s uniformed corps staff, and a gallery of photos with Constantino shaking hands with former police chief Ronald dela Rosa.

    “I wanted to be in the military, or the PNP, but it didn’t happen,” Constantino said. “At least I can fulfill my dream.”

    Gold-plated congratulations from generals across the hierarchy of the Philippine National Police took up much of the wall space. No less than five former directors of the Quezon City Police District had sent in plaques of appreciation, commendation, and recognition. A trophy for “Outstanding Non-Government Organization,” signed by then National Capital Region chief Oscar Albayalde, sat at a place of honor. The room could either be a shrine to the Philippine National Police, or to Alvin Constantino.

    The CSG has maintained a relationship with the PNP since “around 2009.” They were eventually accredited as a volunteer organization, with memoranda of agreement signed with individual police districts, including Manila. Constantino described the CSG as an organization “helping the police maintain peace and order," with force multipliers part of the marshal units.

    The force multipliers are urged to spend three to five hours a day, three times a week, on duty with the PNP. They patrol at their own expense. They wear the royal blue CSG shirt with the martial shield and the seal of the local police district on their right sleeve.

    “When you become a volunteer organization accredited by the PNP,” said Constantino, “you wear a uniform, you have a PNP ID, and you’re with the PNP while you’re on duty, so you intimidate people who are about to commit petty crimes.”

    Constantino was driving to the CSG headquarters on February 9, 2017 when he discovered a chapter of his organization had been accused by police of vigilante killings. Someone had sent him video of the press conference in Camp Crame, where then police chief Dela Rosa condemned the CSG for executing a 16-year-old minor named Charlie Saladaga.

    “Everyone was confused,” Constantino said. “Some of the members said they were taking off their car plates, stripping off their CSG shirts, because they heard the CSG were being hunted down. That hurt me, because what did the CSG do wrong?”

    Constantino said he had no knowledge of vigilante activities in Tondo. “The leadership of the CSG did not order them to kill.” (CSG Tondo Chapter 2's leader, Commander Maning, denied allegations he and his men participated in summary executions.)

    On August 6, 2016, Constantino posted a photo that carried the caption, “a courtesy call by new members from CSG Tondo 2 Chapter headed by Capt Cdr. Ricardo Villamonte.”

    In the photo, a group of more than a dozen people posed inside what appeared to be Constantino’s office at the CSG's national headquarters. Most of the men were wearing the organization’s royal blue uniform shirts, the CSG logo sewn over the heart, their names embroidered opposite.

    Constantino did not deny that CSG Tondo Chapter 2 had once been part of the national network. He was unable to supply Rappler with an official list of Tondo Chapter 2’s members, claiming that “all data and files were removed” after the chapter failed to renew their membership. Even the handwritten applications were gone. Constantino said he had them all thrown out before May 2017, a few months after the PNP press conference.

    Constantino insisted his office had little to do with the recruitment of Tondo Chapter 2’s members. According to Constantino, it was the Philippine National Police, not the CSG, that recruited the members from Village 105 in a rare shift in protocol.

    It was the police, he said, who called to inform him that a new chapter from Tondo was “ready for orientation.”

    According to Constantino, "it was Captain Jonar Cardozo" who recruited and recommended Commander Maning and his men to the CSG. “The police made the recommendation to me."

    Police Inspector Jonar Cardozo, now the chief of the Vehicular Investigation Section of the Manila Police District, was once precinct commander of PCP Smokey Mountain, a few minutes' walk from the CSG outpost along Road 10 in Tondo.

    The Manila Police District is divided into 11 police stations. MPD Police Station-1 along Raxabago Street in Tondo (PS-1), covering Village 105, had command supervision of PCPs – Police Community Precincts – located in Smokey Mountain, Pritil, Gagalangin, and Don Bosco.

    It was Cardozo, according to Constantino, who personally introduced Commander Maning. He said the police offered assurances that the chapter’s men were “hardworking.”

    “All I knew was that Commander Maning was a PNP force multiplier,” said Constantino. “I didn’t know what he did, I didn’t have much knowledge, but of course I had no reason to doubt him. He was with the PNP.”

    Cardozo refused an interview with Rappler. He responded, however, to a few questions via text. He said "our role was to organize the different community sectors in forging a united front against crime, terrorism and other forms of lawlessness."

    He also said that part of the job was "to form force multipliers through the empowerment of people towards community involvement." He did not deny he personally recruited members of CSG Tondo Chapter 2. "All who are willing for community service and public safety are welcome and invited" to join the CSG.

    A 2017 newsletter published by the CSG and provided to Rappler listed Cardozo as an official consultant of the organization. A Facebook post from August 26, 2016 described "Capt Jonar Cardozo" as CSG's Manila District Chief.

    Constantino said Cardozo remains a CSG member, although he is no longer a district chief after CSG Tondo was reduced to a single chapter after Chapter 2 lost its membership.

    Commander Maning, in an interview with Rappler, described Cardozo as a kumpare – a close friend – and "the president of the CSG in Tondo."

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    Another section

    On September 13, 2016, Constantino posted the photograph of a small, one-story structure under construction just beneath an overpass along Road 10.

    “Congratulations,” Constantino wrote, “to Cmdr Ricardo Villamonte for the establishment of CSG Eagle Base Satellite in Tondo 2 Chapter Manila District."

    “They moved fast,” said Constantino. “That’s what I noticed about Tondo 2. They moved fast, although I couldn’t ask where they got their money. They could have solicited, but they didn’t get their money from us. Suddenly they had their own headquarters.”

    Commander Maning said it wasn't the members of CSG Tondo 2 Chapter who elected him as their leader. He said instead he was voted in by "Cardozo and the rest."

    In Commander Maning's view, both Constantino and Cardozo were part of the recruitment of CSG Tondo 2 Chapter, although it was Cardozo he met first when the police officer was assigned to PCP Smokey Mountain.

    Commander Maning said Cardozo told him that he was in contact with Constantino, and that Constantino was looking to organize the CSG in Tondo. "Then [Constantino] came down here."

    "He was our founder," said Commander Maning. "Then he disappeared and abandoned us."

    Constantino denied this in an earlier interview. By his reckoning, Cardozo came to him with a new CSG chapter ready for orientation. Constantino said his own presence was mostly “for morale,” and that he only appeared when invited. Rappler's sources from inside CSG Tondo 2 Chapter also said Constantino was present for official events only. They were unsure if he was aware of the vigilante activities they claimed were ongoing under Commander Maning's supervision.

    Constantino insisted it was the police that had direct command and training supervision over every one of the CSG’s marshal units, along with other force multiplier units in the country. (It is a characterization that former PNP chief Dela Rosa disagreed with. He told Rappler “it is the village hall that has control” over force multipliers.)

    “So the police give the instructions,” Constantino said. “My people just do what they’re told, because those are uniformed personnel.”

    Constantino said he saw Commander Maning join the police on patrols, ride in mobile units, and direct traffic. Photos posted publicly showed Cardozo, together with CSG Tondo Chapter 2 members, providing security to the public and joining medical missions.

    Cardozo, in his messages to Rappler, said that there were sometimes problems with force multipliers "when they are left on their own and they're not guided, especially if they're no longer active or there are no PNP members going there."

    Asked directly over text on Wednesday, October 3, if he agreed with the PNP's announcement that CSG Tondo Chapter 2 was a vigilante group, Cardozo refused to answer.

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    Expanded reports on the CSG Gang

    In mid-2016, after the election of President Rodrigo Duterte, rumors of an armed group of vigilantes began spreading across the tenements and shanties of Village 105 in Tondo. The men would patrol late at night, sometimes at dawn. One resident who saw them pass by on his way home asked who they were.

    “They’re the CSG,” he was told. “They’re the ones who kill the drug users and dealers.”

    By November, the CSG reached new levels of notoriety. “Even the village watchmen were afraid of them,” said one resident. A woman Rappler spoke to said she was afraid one of the children would get shot in the crossfire. Most of the walls in the area were made of plywood. “They shoot like cowboys,” she said.

    “At first I didn’t believe the story,” said a local volunteer. “But I was friends with some of the members, and they were pretty vocal about what they called their job. They were real, and they were killing.”

    Those who found out who the group's targets were quietly informed neighbors their loved ones were in danger. Brothers and fathers and sons were sent out of Tondo to hide. “I couldn’t sleep knowing the names of people who were about to die,” said one Tondo resident. “I went to each of their mothers. I told them to run.”

    The deaths were sometimes reported in the news, part of the count of alleged drug suspects gunned down on a daily basis across the country. They included, among others, a man named Ernesto Sabado, who had been released from jail for a robbery case days before he was killed.

    Rappler's sources, residents in the area, said Sabado had been dragged out of his Temporary Housing unit in Tondo. "They shot him outside the hall," said one source. "In the hallways of the building, in front of everybody."

    According to a report in a tabloid Abante Tonight, Sabado had been killed in front of his "pleading mother" on November 15, 2016. Tempo, another tabloid, noted how Sabado had been "shot dead by his neighbor and two cohorts who forcibly entered his house in Tondo, Manila."

    The tabloids quoted a Manila Police District investigator as saying authorities were hunting down the three suspects, including a certain "June Alejan, neighbor of [the] victim."

    Angel, a self-confessed vigilante who spoke to Rappler, confirmed that Ernesto Sabado was one of CSG Tondo Chapter 2's kills. He also named Alejan.

    Rappler could find no records showing any arrests or charges against the killers of Ernesto Sabado. (Rappler filed a Freedom of Information request at the Manila Police District for the case folder pertaining to the investigation. There has been no response.)

    Roughly three months after Sabado was killed in front of his mother, the same man accused of his death was again implicated in another murder. Alfredo Alejan Jr, alias "Jun," was arrested by police for the murder of a 16-year-old boy named Charlie Saladaga. Alejan was among the three alleged vigilantes arrested and presented to the media by top brass of the Philippine National Police.

    A check on Alejan's booking sheet showed he lived in the same building as Ernesto Sabado in Vitas, Tondo.

    ***


    HOME. A man sits in one of the Temporary Housing buildings in Helping Complex, Village 105, Tondo, Manila. Photo by Carlo Gabuco

    At past 4 in the afternoon of February 9, 2017, Manila Police District Director Joel Coronel told the national media that a rogue group of vigilantes had been operating in Tondo for at least five months. Coronel said the police "have monitored through several complaints that this group has been engaged in summary killings of alleged suspects in criminal activities."

    Three men were arrested in a police raid: Alfredo "Jun" Alejan Jr, Manuel "Joel" Murillo, and Marco "Naldo" Morallos.

    "These suspects are members of a civilian volunteer organization allegedly involved in our Barangay Peacekeeping Action Teams, our BPATS," Coronel said. "They were further accredited with our Police Community Relations Group. Supposedly they are assisting the PNP in maintaining peace and order."

    While at first unwilling to name the head of the purported vigilante group, referring only to a "Commander," Coronel later named the suspect after questioning by a reporter.

    “The commander is a certain Ricardo Villamonte, the alleged leader of the Confederate Sentinel Group, the CSG,” said Coronel.

    For months, Rappler had been attempting to interview Ricardo Villamonte, also known as "Commander Maning." It was only on the day before publication of the first story in the series that Rappler caught up with the controversial CSG leader.

    At eight in the morning of October 3, Commander Maning was waiting outside the village 105 hall. He said he was there to bring his child to school. He was reluctant to speak, and only answered a few questions on the record before swinging a leg over his motorcycle and insisting he had to leave.

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    Expansion

    Commander Maning is a short man, just a little over five feet tall. He stands with his feet splayed, the big heavy belly tucked under a bright yellow shirt that stretched at the seams.

    Yes, he said, he was part of CSG Tondo Chapter 2. Yes, he was the one chosen to lead them, for no other reason that he was already the president of the local homeowners' association in Aroma, Tondo. Yes, he and his men helped patrol the village, but it was "for peace and order, so that there would be no snatchers and no riots, and we told off the ones who are trouble."

    He said he had been dragged into the allegations, but added, "I have nothing to do with any of it." He also dismissed claims by sources who told Rappler he led vigilantes working for CSG Tondo Chapter 2. "Did they see anything?" he asked. "What right do we have to kill? We're not cops."

    The police, said Commander Maning, "were really wrong" to accuse them.

    "How can we be vigilantes when we're just here?" he asked Rappler. "We're not doing anything. We help the village officials."



    OUTPOST. Photos of the facade of the CSG Tondo Chapter 2 outpost photographed in January of 2017 show the names of CSG officials as well as members painted on the outside walls.

    The former outpost of the Confederate Sentinels Group Tondo Chapter 2 sat along Road 10, a short walk away from the Smokey Mountain Police Community Precinct (PCP).

    It was that proximity that many of Rappler's sources pointed to when asked about the killings that police claimed were the responsibility of CSG Tondo Chapter 2.

    “We were confident,” said Simon, a self-confessed vigilante, “because if we show the police our ID, or even if we didn’t have ID to show, we just give them our names and say we’re Commander Maning’s men. They’ll hold us at the PCP...They’ll take us for a ride and hold us. If they prove we’re positive [as CSG], they let us go.”

    Rappler's sources said the outpost just under an overpass was mess hall and barracks and war room combined, where anyone on the job could trade a gun if he didn't like what he had. Inside the outpost, names and pictures of the members were posted on one wall. A whiteboard with a hand-drawn chart listed shift schedules. Outside, the CSG logo was painted on the blue walls, along with Alvin Constantino’s name as director, Commander Maning’s name – Ricardo Villamonte – as commander, and the names of nine of the chapter’s members.

    "So Maning had his name up there," snickered Angel, another self-confessed CSG vigilante. "It said commander. He put it [his name] up there so people would show respect. Of course people were scared of the commander, and all the other people who had their names on the wall."

    The list of dead targets grew longer, said Simon. He knew most of the targets by their aliases: Toyo, Joseph, JC, Antonio, Pinuno, Sitoy.

    Not every target was killed on police orders, said Simon. One woman on the target list, a dealer the locals called “Mommy,” knew there was a hit out and refused to leave her house. “So they took it out on her son instead."

    Another man, a former CSG member, was killed on the way to the outpost. "We found out he was positive [for dealing drugs]," said Simon. "After our operation we followed him and killed him."

    On October 4, 2016, the media reported the death of a 36-year-old garbage collector named Albert Franco. A newspaper report said Franco, described as a CSG member and resident of Village 105, was shot in the head by unknown assailants. He was reportedly killed at 10:45 in the evening as he was walking a short distance away from PCP Smokey Mountain, on his way to the CSG outpost. His partner told reporters, however, that Franco had no vices or enemies.

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    More on the Hitmen that kill addicts

    "It depends on the orders," said Angel. "Doesn't matter if you're a kid or an adult. That's how it works. If Maning says to kill you, because the police paid him, he'll say, 'Go, drop the guy, he's pissed off a lot of people inside. Do it.'"

    This was what happened, said the vigilantes, once Commander Maning announced a target. The surveillance team would fan out. There would be maybe four, maybe six men. They would watch the target for days, from across an alley or on the stoop of a corner store.

    They would listen when plans were made, befriend neighbors, and note when children come home. They would ask who else lived in the house and admire the paint on the walls.

    Sometimes the surveillance men would look through windows, or knock on the door to purchase a sachet of meth – no problem, no worries, here you go, the folded hundred-peso bill just a quiet deal between friends.

    Once the target was “positive,” a team would be selected. “Someone would go, ‘You, you, and you, go with him so it’s safe,’” said Angel, pointing at imagined cronies. “Four in front, the rest to the side. In every area you have a backup. That corner, two backups there. Those in front are on motorcycles. On the other side, two more. So the target is safely down, and no screwups.”

    Sometimes they would use a van one of the members owned, sometimes a motorcycle with unregistered plates. If the target survived the first shot, there would be another man waiting. He could be sitting at an outdoor canteen with a bowl of noodles. He could be on his phone, standing by the side of the road. He only moved once the target fell and the shooter ran. If the target twitched, he would fire the killing shot. They called him the finisher.

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    https://www.rappler.com/nation/21398...stayed-at-home

    What but Vigilantes are breaking into homes in come cases

    Tondo village chief: Killings won't happen if people stayed home at night
    In the 6th of 7 stories part of the Murder in Manila series, allegations of a supposed vigilante group in Barangay 105 in Tondo raises little concern from its chairperson



    MANILA, Philippines – The chairperson of a Tondo village notorious for vigilante killings said that these incidents wouldn’t happen if people kept to themselves at night.

    In the 6th of 7 stories that are part of the Murder in Manila series, “There Are Snakes Everywhere,” Rappler’s Patricia Evangelista reported that allegations of a supposed vigilante group operating in the jurisdiction of Barangay 105 did not bother Chairperson Leny Reyes.

    According to Reyes, while there were killers in the slums of Tondo, the same can be said of other places. It's the responsibility of people to stay inside their homes at night, she said.

    “If you have nothing to do, don’t wander around. That’s what I say,” she said. “God made the night for sleep, the day to work, right? So things like that wouldn’t happen if people just stayed quiet in their own homes.”

    These killers – sources disclosed during a 6-month investigation by Evangelista and Carlo Gabuco – are from the Confederate Sentinels Group (CSG) Tondo Chapter 2. They are allegedly responsible for the deaths of at least 20 people within the first 7 months of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

    Self-confessed vigilante killers said that the group was backed by local police whom their leader, Ricardo Villamonte, alias "Commander Maning," supposedly got their orders from.

    Sources also claimed that Reyes was connected to the CSG. Simon (not his real name) said Commander Maning was Reyes' bodyguard, while another man who worked in the local village hall said it was Reyes who tried to recruit him to the group.

    Reyes, however, denied employing members and denied any direct association with the CSG Tondo Chapter 2. They met only during a courtesy call made in her office.

    ‘Mistake’

    The alleged vigilante work of CSG Tondo Chapter 2 was exposed in the aftermath of the death of 16-year-old Charlie Saladaga. The teenager was abducted, shot in the face, and tossed into the breakwater of Isla Puting Bato in Tondo.

    Three suspects, identified to be members of the CSG by Saladaga’s sister, were presented in a press conference led by then police director general Ronald dela Rosa in February 2017.

    According to Reyes, Saladaga was known in the neighborhood for causing trouble, adding that he would have been alive if his mother was more dutiful and had looked after him more.

    But Simon, a self-confessed vigilante, told Rappler that although he was notorious in Barangay 105 for being a “troublemaker,” killing him “was a mistake” and that “they should have surrendered him first.”

    Sources claimed that killing Saladaga was a side job. Angel (another self-confessed vigilante not using his real name) said it was also possible that neighbors were mad and had paid money to CSG members to have him killed.

    The murder of Saladaga did not really shock members of CSG Tondo Chapter 2, according to Angel, adding that the group members “were bragging” about who would be next.

    Money eventually became the center of operations, the vigilante said, because their leader Commander Maning allegedly made money as criminals entered their group. CSG Tondo Chapter 2 collapsed because the leadership failed to vet its own assassins, he said.

    “They keep recruiting just about anyone,” he said, adding that gun for hires, dealers, and drug addicts infiltrated CSG in the months leading to February 2017.

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    https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/in...eries-part-six

    Another Update on the CSG one of the Vigilante gangs in the Philippines

    Village 105 is Duterte country, the sprawling slum where Rodrigo Duterte won when he ran for president in 2016. His more ardent supporters included the village chairperson Leny Reyes herself, now on her second elected term after her husband passed her the baton on hitting the nine-year maximum.

    The village is where shanties built from plywood crowd each other inside the hollow shells of old tenements. Teenagers crouch sniffing solvent inside burnt-out buildings. Outside, on the sodden passages that pass for streets, piles of leftovers scavenged from the back alleys of fast food joints are packaged for resale at about P50 or a dollar a bag.

    105 is where it is possible for a 22-year-old to knife five people without once getting caught, and where a man could watch a murder one evening and get shot in his living room the next. It is also where police claimed a vigilante group had run havoc in the first few months of the war on drugs, killing at least 4, including a 16-year-old boy named Charlie Saladaga.

    Tondo, said Reyes, is no more violent than other places in the country. Drugs can be found anywhere, and Village 105 was no different. There may be runners and dealers living in the shanties, but she assured the public that they counsel the suspects who are known.

    "As our President said, 'If you want to change, go home to your provinces,’” said Reyes.

    For Reyes, 105 became a more peaceful place in the two years since a strongman from the south took his seat in Malaca?ang Palace. Reyes said she could count in one hand the number of people murdered in the last two years.

    “It’s why we thank the President,” she said. “We see how things got better here. He did a lot for us. Not that I think he can hear me, but big thanks to him. First to God, second to him.”


    Allegations that an active vigilante team had been operating unchecked under Reyes’ watch aroused little concern from the chairperson.

    “What they’re saying, about the killers, yes there were killers,” Reyes told Rappler. “But there are snakes everywhere, aren’t there? Even in Makati or other places they’re there. That’s why I said, when night comes, people should be inside their homes. If you have nothing to do, don’t wander around. That’s what I say. God made the night for sleep, the day to work, right? So things like that wouldn’t happen if people just stayed quiet in their own homes.”

    A variety of Rappler's sources spoke of what they called close ties between the local administration of Village 105 and the allegedly violent killing arm of CSG Tondo Chapter 2, led by Ricardo Villamonte, alias Commander Maning.

    There were residents who said Reyes was in constant contact with members at the height of the killings. Some believed she was involved in the CSG’s founding. Others were more careful: “The funny thing is that wherever the chairman is, the CSG are too.”

    "Commander Maning was her bodyguard,” said Simon, a resident who described himself as a CSG vigilante when he spoke to Rappler. (Commander Maning has denied employment with the chairperson.)

    Angel, another self-confessed CSG vigilante, said that “Reyes had a connection with the CSG.”

    “The CSG worked with 'Madame,' the village captain,” said a former hitman, who was once part of a gang targeted by CSG Tondo Chapter 2.

    Another man, working in the village hall at the time CSG Tondo Chapter 2 was actively recruiting, said it was Reyes who tried to bring him into the group and gave him the uniform shirt. (Reyes refused to answer further questions when approached a second time by Rappler.)

    Reyes denied employing members of CSG Tondo Chapter 2, or any direct association with the group. She claimed her only official contact was a courtesy call in her office – “They said, ‘Chairman, we are the CSG, and our goal is peace’” – as well as a meeting at the Police Community Precinct at Smokey Mountain. The meeting was at the invitation of a police officer whose name she could not recall.

    Sources told Rappler it was the police who actively recruited members of CSG Tondo Chapter 2.

    Reyes said she was introduced to Commander Maning. She said she saw the CSG patrolling with the police. She said she had been told by the precinct that the CSG meant to build an outpost along Road 10. She said she had no knowledge of the CSG’s activities, as the territory she covered was so large that she was “unable to monitor every home and building.”

    She said she knows nothing of their events, including CSG-sponsored welfare missions. (Photos from August 2016, however, showed Reyes present at a CSG Tondo medical mission, posing beside a uniformed Captain Jomar Cardozo of PCP Smokey Mountain, with Commander Maning standing close by.)

    While Reyes was vague about her relationship with Commander Maning and the rest of CSG Tondo Chapter 2, she was clear where she thought blame for the death of Charlie Saladaga lay.

    His death, said Reyes, was his mother’s own fault.

    “Let me tell you about that boy,” Reyes began.

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    https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/in...eries-part-six

    Part 6 A vigilante gang kills an Innocent Teen

    In December 2016, by Reyes’ reckoning, the 16-year-old Charlie and at least two of his friends broke into the home of a local village official. According to Reyes, the young men stole computers and “everything they could get their hands on.”

    The teenagers were caught, but Charlie managed to escape.

    Reyes has four sons, all of them professionals, all college graduates, each one employed, one of them working in Stanford Hospital in the United States, another a nurse in Norway. It all depends on the parents. Living in Tondo doesn't mean immersion in drugs and violence. "Sometimes it's the mother, she's negligent," she said. "You need to look after your kids."

    Had Cristina Saladaga been a dutiful mother, said Reyes, Charlie would be alive.

    “You’re the mother and you didn’t look out for him,” Reyes said.

    (Cristina Saladaga once acknowledged to the media her son had been accused of robbery, but denied it was true. Rappler has been unable to reach the Saladaga family, whom neighbors say are in hiding.)


    CHARLIE. A screengrab from CNN Philippines shows a policeman holding up the crime scene photo shot on the discovery of Charlie Saladaga's body.

    The alleged vigilantes who spoke to Rappler said Charlie was notorious in Village 105. They said he was a housebreaker, a thief, a young punk who did what he liked and felt up women when he could. “We caught him again and again, even before I was CSG,” said Simon. He added Charlie had been warned many times.

    “That kid was trouble,” said Angel. “Neighbors complained. He was stealing, snatching in the highway."

    But Charlie wasn’t on the list of people the CSG was targeting to kill. "That might have been personal."

    “Personal” meant Charlie had never been part of the police kill list allegedly disseminated by Commander Maning. (Commander Maning denied any involvement in summary executions.)

    Charlie's murder, said sources, was a side job for CSG members – “Some neighbor was probably pissed because they lost a lot when Charlie stole from them,” Angel said. “So they paid, two, maybe three thousand.”

    The murder was discussed in the days after his death, particularly since Charlie’s 14-year-old sister saw his abductors grab Charlie from the corner of Capulong near the CSG outpost at past 5 in the afternoon of January 1, 2017. Simon said Charlie was taken to the outpost. None of the killers hid their faces.

    “I told them that was their mistake,” said Simon. “They should have known they would be recognized – why’d you grab him without wearing bonnets?”

    The murder of Charlie Saladaga caused little consternation among the members of CSG Tondo Chapter 2.

    “It was nothing,” said Angel. “The CSG were bragging. They were saying, ‘Look what happened. Which punk is next? Who else is left?’”

    It is not the only time there have been documented accusations that the police have ordered the extrajudicial killing of drug suspects. Der Spiegel, Al Jazeera and the BBC each interviewed alleged assassins who claimed to take orders from unnamed policemen. In January 2017, Amnesty International released a report saying that some drug-related deaths were the result of police “hiring paid killers.”

    According to Angel, the vigilantes of CSG Tondo Chapter 2 were not the first to act as the killing arm of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. “There are other organizations,” said Angel. “Tondo is just one of them…Tondo was late killing people. Quezon City was first.”

    Angel does not regret the killings, only the fact that sometimes, the wrong people like Charlie got killed. He said the CSG collapsed because the group failed to vet its own assassins.

    Commander Maning, said Angel, was making money as criminals infiltrated the chapter. Guns for hire, dealers, drug addicts – “They kept recruiting just about anyone” – were invited into the brotherhood in its last months before the PNP raided the outpost.

    “They got to be legends,” Angel said of the more notorious members of the CSG. “That’s what happened. They got to be famous where we lived, but the truth was that nothing happened, it was all about money. So the police would maybe give you money, but the real goal, we never succeeded.”


    In the course of investigating this story, Rappler interviewed four self-confessed killers, two of them alleged members of CSG Tondo Chapter 2, two others reformed criminals who once knifed rivals and fleeced jeepney passengers for a week's worth of drug money.

    The men spoke of the rising cost of living and the struggle to send children to school. They talked of going to Church and courting girlfriends and the danger of illegal drugs. All of them spoke of murder with casual dismissiveness, as many others did in a village where seven-year-olds race to see fresh corpses.

    "The cops killed my brother two years ago," said one of the killers. "He was a dealer, so I guess he deserved it."

    Simon said the murder of Charlie Saladaga was a mistake.

    "They should have surrendered him first," he said, "because even if you say he's a troublemaker, he didn't have a fighting chance. It's the drug lords we should have been killing. Those feel good to kill. The addicts, it feels good to kill them too. But the ones just taking drugs, they're just victims. Unless of course we catch you in the act taking drugs – that makes you a target."

    In Village 105, talk of murder revolved mostly around whether the dead deserved it. Sitoy died because he was an addict and a hitman. Toyo died because he was a drug dealer. Sixteen-year-old Charlie Saladaga, whose death became national news and disbanded CSG Tondo Chapter 2, died "because he was a troublemaker."

    He was warned, said the vigilantes. He was trouble, said the village chief. There were people who were happy when he was killed, said one clerk at the village hall. Even Charlie's mother tearfully told reporters that her son was no thief, as if lifting some neighbor's television mattered after a bullet smashed into the cheek of a 16-year-old boy.

    Chairperson Leny Reyes said the CSG Tondo Chapter 2 no longer exists. She refused to categorically say if accusations of murder had basis, but was quick to assign responsibility to the police.

    “In the first place, [the CSG outpost] is just beside the police precinct,” she said. “If the cock crows, it’s the cops who’ll hear the crowing long before we do.” – Rappler.com

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    https://www.rappler.com/nation/21404...till-walk-free

    Another Update in the Philippines Vigilante Issue

    https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/in...ies-conclusion

    On February 10, 2017, a day after the Philippine National Police announced they had arrested members of a vigilante group in Tondo, Manila, The Philippine Star reported that police had already filed criminal charges against six men for the death of 16-year-old Charlie Saladaga.

    Three men had already been arrested during the raid on the Confederate Sentinels Group's (CSG?s) outpost: Alfredo Alejan Jr, Marco Morallos, and Manuel Murillo.

    They pointed a finger at their leader, Ricardo Villamonte, alias "Commander Maning."

    Commander Maning, along with Barangay 105 councilman Michael Sibucao, and a third man known only by the alias "Onic," remained at large at the time charges were filed.

    According to the affidavit of apprehension filed by the Manila Police District?s homicide section, ?a hot pursuit was immediately conducted.?

    Rappler?s sources in the community said there was no visible attempt at pursuit, as the three men continued to live freely in Village 105.

    On February 15, the Office of the City Prosecutor asked police to conduct preliminary investigations against the missing men.

    Commander Maning, Sibucao, and Onic were subpoenaed to appear at the Manila City Hall on April 20 to testify under oath ?and answer clarificatory questions.?

    On the day of their subpoena, Charlie Saladaga's mother Cristina filed a document retracting her sworn statement, including the complaint of murder and kidnapping she filed against men who had already confessed to the assassination of her son.

    In her affidavit of withdrawal, Cristina explained that she had been "thinking repeatedly about the events? leading up to Charlie?s death. She asked to ?dismiss all charges of kidnapping with homicide and murder? against all the men implicated.

    She said she had come to realize that the entire complaint was the result of ?a misunderstanding.?



    It was Simon, a self-confessed vigilante from CSG Tondo Chapter 2, who told Rappler that a group of ranking police officials gave CSG Tondo Chapter 2 the mandate to kill.

    ?We wouldn't do this without their blessing,? said Simon. "But this had their blessing."

    One day in 2016, said Simon, a number of their members were called to a briefing early in the drug war. It was at that meeting that police officers explained to the chapter?s new recruits that their mission was to kill "those with bounties and the ones involved in drugs.?

    It was a meeting that may have occurred in the CSG Inc headquarters. Simon described the location as ?a small office? located ?near Sangandaan.?

    Directions to reporters seeking an interview with CSG Inc director Alvin Constantino included meeting CSG guides at a McDonald?s branch ?at the end of Tandang Sora going to Quirino Highway, Sangandaan.? The office in Sitio Campo Uno, whose exact location cannot be found on GPS maps, is a few minutes away off a winding one-way road into the Constantino compound.

    While Constantino admitted that members of CSG Tondo Chapter 2 have visited his office at the same time as police officials, Constantino doubted an order to kill could have been announced inside the headquarters. ?The PNP wouldn?t do that in front of the other members there,? he said, ?especially because there were also women and older CSG members. I don?t think the PNP would say that.?

    Alvin Constantino remains the national director of officials of the CSG Inc, although he is in the process of having the name officially changed to Confederate Sentinels of God. His Facebook account still banners his photo side by side with a laughing former police chief Ronald dela Rosa.

    Constantino said the alleged violence committed by CSG Tondo Chapter 2 in no way reflects the values of the national organization he founded.

    In June 2017, four months after the PNP accused the organization of abduction and murder, Constantino received a letter from the National Police Commission. It certified that ?the Confederate Sentinels Group, Incorporated, headed by Mr. Alvin Constantino, is a partner NGO of the Philippine National Police.?

    The CSG, said Constantino, remains an accredited partner of the Manila Police District.

    Constantino said the police never explained how CSG Tondo Chapter 2 came to be accused of murder.

    If they are guilty, Constantino said, they are a rogue organization whose actions have nothing to do with the national volunteer organization. ?I thought about it, if they were vigilantes, who gave them orders? Wasn?t it the PNP who introduced them to us? What does that imply??

    Police Superintendent Robert Domingo, whom Rappler sources accused of outsourcing murder to the CSG, is attending to his education at the Philippine National Police Academy. He has refused to comment on this story.

    On October 9, 2018, as this series was being published, the House of Representatives recommended the filing of "appropriate" charges against police officers of Manila Police District in Station 1, Raxabago, where Domingo was station commander at the time of Charlie Saladaga's death.

    According to the House, a jail cell hidden behind a bookshelf inside the station in April 2017 was "beyond humane conditions."

    Vigilantes interviewed by Rappler said Domingo was, by no means, the mastermind of what they claimed was the outsourcing of extrajudicial killings.

    ?He?s just a tool for Tondo,? said self-confessed vigilante Angel. ?There?s someone higher than him. There?s a general involved. We were supposed to meet with him. We were told, ?You?re being called by the general.? It was some sort of briefing. But that?s all I know, because when we were about to go meet the general the whole thing was called off.?

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    bonus, he said, but the goal was to kill criminals, not to work with them.

    “Look at me, I have trauma,” he said. “Not just me, even my neighbors, and the people still living there. They’re scared if they screw up because people will talk. You’re a guy, you did nothing wrong, but someone will whisper in Maning’s ear and say, ‘Maning, it’s like this, that person is like this.’ You’ll be afraid.”

    Angel left the hotel room where he was interviewed as quickly as he arrived, stepping out of the small room in the small hotel in a city that cannot be named. He has killed many people. He hopes to stay alive.

    Sources in the community said that the Saladaga family moved out of Village 105 for fear the CSG would make good on their threats.

    “The parents are hiding,” said Simon, shaking his head. “It’s all backwards. The parents are in hiding...and the Commander’s still around.”

    Simon remains an active member of the CSG, or what is left of the CSG. He still conducts surveillance. He still joins the boys on the job. He still works with the police. He doesn’t trust the CSG, but he understands there are people who need killing.

    “Look, everyone thinks we’re bad guys,” he said. "Not all of us are like that. There are decent guys in the CSG. It’s just some of them, even the ones who never even killed anyone, the ones who only did the minor stuff, they all got big heads because they got to lean on the CSG.”

    Simon has one last target. One of Toyo’s men is still alive. When the work is done, he’ll pack up his gun and walk away, "because I don’t know who the enemies are anymore.”

    “All we wanted was to do something about the drugs. All the drugs. We didn’t want the killings either, but we wanted peace where we lived. That’s all. But it was for nothing. Even if people were getting killed, the others were still selling drugs. You’ll hear people say now, ‘That CSG, they were nothing.’ But it’s only when someone gets killed or threatened that they get scared.”

    He shook his head. He has to leave by nightfall. There’s a job tonight.


    CAMPAIGN. A campaign poster for Ricardo Villamonte, also known as Commander Maning, from the March 2018 local elections still hangs in several areas of Village 105. Photo by Carlo Gabuco

    All but one of the men whom the Philippine National Police accused of murdering Charlie Saladaga and three others walk free in Village 105.

    At least three of them, including Commander Maning, ran for local elections a little more than a year after they were condemned as vigilantes on national television. All of them lost. (Commander Maning denied all allegations of vigilante activities, and said the police were "very wrong" to accuse the CSG.)

    The CSG headquarters along Road 10 has been repainted. It is now a local government outpost. Sources in the community said the murders continue, with vigilantes reporting instead to the homes of CSG leaders, or working as assets for anti-drug cops.

    General Ronald dela Rosa, now Director of the Bureau of Corrections, said that allegations of police corruption, collusion, and murder should be investigated. He said that “there have always been stories, urban legends” of police ordering the murders of drug suspects, but “if proven, they should file charges against the police.”

    Of the four deaths under investigation that Dela Rosa attributed to the CSG, Rappler has only been able to confirm charges filed on a single case. The former chief of police stands by the statements he made during the February 2017 press conference.

    The CSG, he said, were confessed killers. They said they killed Charlie Saladaga.

    “I have nothing to hide,” Dela Rosa told Rappler. “I didn’t make up stories. What I said was straight from the source. They were there. They admitted it.”

    Dela Rosa has announced his intention to run for senator. He believes the drug war has been effective. He believes he served President Rodrigo Duterte well. He believes that the public is sincere in their gratitude, so sincere that when they speak to him, they hug him and weep in thanks.

    Asked what he thought of his successes given the thousands of deaths, he said the country is at war.

    “It's war. War,” he repeated. “Otherwise, we wouldn’t call it a war on drugs. What would you call it, what do you call it if nobody dies? What else do you call it? It’s a war, a war on drugs. We are waging war against drugs.”


    RUNNING FOR SENATE. General Ronald dela Rosa sits behind his desk at the Bureau of Corrections in the New Bilibid Prison Reservation, Muntinlupa City. Photo by Carlo Gabuco

    On September 30, 2018, before the United Nations General Assembly, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano announced to the gathered representatives of the international community that the Republic of the Philippines will choose the protection of law-abiding citizens and law enforcers over the lives of drug lords and criminals.

    The administration, Cayetano said, was "salvaging" the future of a country on the verge of becoming a narco-state.

    The statement marched in lockstep with the President's own words. Just days earlier, President Duterte spoke at the oath taking of new career service executives at Malaca?ang Palace and proceeded to defend his two-year administration.

    "What is my sin? Did I steal even one peso? Did I prosecute somebody who I ordered jailed?" Duterte asked.


    https://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/in...ies-conclusion

    ANother Update

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    https://www.manilatimes.net/study-yo...issues/470799/

    Many of the young people today, especially those born between 1990 and 2000, are apolitical and “indifferent” to political and social issues, a study conducted by the Far Eastern University’s Public Policy Center showed.
    The study, which polled 81,230 freshman students nationwide, showed that those who belong to Generation Z are not inclined to participate in political and civic affairs.



    JC Punongbayan, who headed the team that conducted the study, said Gen Z members rely heavily on social media and the internet for news, which was good, but they lacked discernment and critical evaluation of what they read.

    “Gen Z reads the news, they accept that what they read was true and they don’t bother to evaluate, that’s why we need to guide them in their choices in the 2019 polls and to instill greater critical thinking and inculcate them against disinformation,” he said during the presentation of the study on Tuesday.

    The study made use of random sampling for each school chosen, where freshmen were grouped into “blocks” by academic program and by sex.

    Eighteen schools participated in the National Capital Region, eight in Luzon, two in Visayas and seven in Mindanao.

    Punongbayan said 81 percent of the respondents said they would rather focus on their studies to snag a decent job after graduation as it was not important to have “problem-solving skills or interpersonal skills for social issues.

    “It seems unfortunate that many Gen Z students are still largely politically apathetic. Although they placed great value in critical thinking, they hardly demonstrate for a cause. Many never discussed politics or communicate their idea or opinion,” Punongbayan said.



    To gauge the stand of the respondents, the Public Policy Center posed contentious issues such as extrajudicial killings, the West Philippine Sea and death penalty.

    Results showed that 37 percent of the respondents believe that summary executions are legitimate crime control measures, 39 percent think that the government should give up the West Philippine Sea and 50 percent think it was time to reinstate the death penalty.

    Punongbayan lamented that only a fourth of the respondents said it was very important to be updated on political affairs or “become agents of change.”

    “These are the most controversial issues in the country and there’s a lot of disagreement in these issues. On the one hand these results are pretty unsettling,” he said.

    The study also showed that at least half of the respondents were undecided on their stance on national issues.

    The challenge, Punongbayan said, is how the youth can be encouraged to participate “more strongly” in political affairs and have a greater sense of civic consciousness.

    He stressed the importance of cultivating critical thinking skills of the youth who comprise more than half of the voting population.

    “That’s where guidance and cultivation needs to come in, so that we could have better results in the coming elections,” he said.

    Records from the Commission on Election show that 38 percent of the voting population are millennials and 20 percent belong to Gen Z.
    Yes the death squad has good approval ratings.

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    https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/105786...er-up-ejk-joma

    Here is another article on Dutertes Death squads he uses summary executions to remove people he accuse of being NPA rebels to justify force.

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    I know some people here in Australia with family connections in the Philippines. The people I know are usually staunchly anti-police brutality & anti-corruption - except when it comes to Duterte.

    I only realised their stance on it when Kian Loyd delos Santos was shot. I don't understand their mindset at all. I should probably go back & see if their position has changed after all these other deaths but it's going to piss me off if they're still defending it

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    Quote Originally Posted by blighted star View Post
    I know some people here in Australia with family connections in the Philippines. The people I know are usually staunchly anti-police brutality & anti-corruption - except when it comes to Duterte.

    I only realised their stance on it when Kian Loyd delos Santos was shot. I don't understand their mindset at all. I should probably go back & see if their position has changed after all these other deaths but it's going to piss me off if they're still defending it
    Somehow I took the Duterte Kool aid too.

    But back to this thread Duterte promised a utopia to the Philippines to reduce political, Police and military corruption. But there's been allegations of "undercover militants" killing people they simply accuse of being drug cartels or dealers it ends up in the fray of now neighborhood watch killing other people they accuse of being the political opposition or criminals to justify killing certain people in the name of pleasing the president.

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