Former police officer Arthur Lascanas (C) is escorted by security personnel after a press conference at the Senate in Manila on February 20, 2017. Lascanas during the press conference confessed to a litany of brutal crimes allegedly ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte when he was the mayor of the southern city of Davao. The crimes range from the murder of a Duterte opponent to the bombing of a mosque. He testified in the senate last October, but at that time denied the allegations. / AFP / TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)

MANILA, Philippines — A retired Philippine police officer said Monday that President Rodrigo Duterte, when he was a mayor, ordered and paid him and other members of a so-called liquidation squad to kill criminals and opponents, including a kidnapping suspect, his family and a critical radio commentator.
Human rights lawyers who presented Arthur Lascanas at a news conference said the allegations could be grounds for impeaching Duterte, adding that his alleged role in the killings may not be covered by his presidential immunity.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who helped the lawyers from the private Free Legal Assistance Group present Lascanas in a news conference at the Senate, said he would ask his colleagues to immediately investigate the explosive allegations.
Duterte’s communications secretary, Martin Andanar, dismissed the claims as a “demolition job” by unspecified people affected by Duterte’s reforms and aimed at forcing Duterte from power. He did not respond to Lascanas’s detailed claims.
“The …