A former police officer is accusing Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte of having run a “death squad” while he was the mayor of Davao. According to the ex-cop, Arturo Lascanas, Duterte routinely ordered killings of alleged criminals and paid cash to the police officers and others who carried out the killings. “It’s true, the Davao death squad, or DDS, really exists,” said Lascanas, who denied the existence of such an operation when questioned under oath last year. “When Mayor Duterte sat down as mayor for the first time, we started what is called ‘salvaging’ of people, these people are suspects committing crime in Davao.” He added: ‘We implemented the personal orders of Mayor Duterte to us.’ Duterte, for his part, denied having engaged in this conduct during his 22 years as mayor of the city. His lawyer called the allegations a “continuing fabrication,” and his spokesman said the charges amount to a “character assassination” and “vicious politics.” Duterte has been criticized for his country’s drug policy, in which suspected drug dealers are executed.