>> A suspected Death Squad ring leader steps forward. Retired Filipino policeman Arthur Lascanas telling reporters at the Senate in Manila, President Rodrigo Duterte's teams of secret vigilante killers were no myth. Lascanas says he assassinated drug dealers and criminals at the future president's request 20 years ago. Reuters, Martin Petty is following the story from the capital.
>> Lascanas is claiming that he was one of the founding members of the so called Davao Death Squad, which was allegedly formed when Rodrigo Duterte became mayor of Davao City in 1988. He's the second person who claimed to have been involved in these killings that have come forward.
Lascanas says Duterte as mayor, personally ordered the killings of criminal suspects, and that he paid for the assassinations.>> Lascanas claimed Death Squad members made anywhere from $400 to $2,000 and that some killers were ex-communist rebels. He also confessed to the unsolved murder of the Davao radio show host that was critical of Duterte on his orders, but that account may not faze the President.
>> The National Police chief has denied the existence of the Davao Death Squad, and said it's fiction and the creation of the media. Duterte's team has rejected the Lascanas's claims as politically motivated. And points to have Duterte has been cleared of any wrong doing or alleged links to any extra judicial killings in Davao by multiple independent agencies.
>> Human rights groups documented about 1,400 expected killings in Davao while Duterte was mayor, and critics say the war on drugs he unleashed as President is similar. Only a third of the 7,700 people killed in his crackdown were involved in police operations. Activists believe the rest were killings outside the law.