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Former Philippines Hitman Claims Duterte Murdered Justice Official

Former Filipino militiaman Edgar Matobato, center, walks under tight security after testifying at the Philippine Senate in Pasay, south of Manila, Philippines on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016.

A former member of a Philippines death squad told senators in Manila Thursday that Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, while serving as mayor of Davao City, shot and killed an employee of the justice department and ordered the deaths more than 1,000 people over the past 25 years.

The hitman, Edgar Matobato, said during a Senate hearing he was one of several policemen on a death squad that took orders from Duterte.

Matobato said he personally killed about 50 people using various methods that included feeding one man to an alligator and burning others.

He went on to describe an incident in 1993 where his hit squad encountered a justice department agent who tried to stop them from carrying out a mission.

The encounter escalated into a gun battle that ended with Duterte executing the agent, Matobato said.

"Mayor Duterte was the one who finished him off. Jamisola (the justice department official) was still alive when he (Duterte) arrived. He emptied two Uzi magazines on him,” he said.

Duterte has long been accused of being behind the death squad in Davao City, where he served as mayor before winning the presidency earlier this year, but has denied any involvement.

A spokesman for Duterte called the allegations false and said the testimony was “mere hearsay” from “a madman.”

Matobato surrendered to authorities in 2009 and had been in a witness protection program until just recently.