When the men on black motorbikes came for her husband, Mona was six months pregnant and riding with him in the front seat of a taxi.
It didn't matter to the gunmen. By the time they had finished, the vehicle was riddled with bullets and four people were dead, including Mona's husband, who had been released from a police station just moments earlier.
As tears flow, other women tell their stories.
Clarita lost three sons to mysterious death squads. Ludja's eldest son was bundled into the back of a van and shot months after her youngest son met a similar fate. Byuda's 18-year-old son was shot in front of her house.
The women, who come from the slums of the southern Philippine city of Davao, admit their men and boys were no angels.
But they place heavy blame on one man for their sorrow -- Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
"I believe the mayor had a hand in the killings because of what he says about drugs," Ludja said. "He sometimes says `If you don't stop, you will be floating in the sea tomorrow.'"
Depending on who you ask, the tough-talking Duterte is either a model for other leaders of crime-ridden Philippine cities or a thinly disguised bully who has taken the law into his own hands.
The Duterte approach to law and order is nothing if not hands-on. He deals out personal beatings to police officers he finds drunk on duty and sometimes poses as a taxi driver when he isn't inspecting the streets on his 600cc Yamaha motorcycle.
The former prosecutor prides himself on cleaning up Davao, the biggest city on the strife-torn island of Mindanao, where Muslim rebels, communist insurgents and kidnapping gangs make up a violent brew.
"Davao City is the most dangerous city in the Philippines for criminals," he said recently at a regular Sunday meeting with the media at his favorite bar.
"Very, very dangerous," said Duterte, whose dark black hair and taut physique belie his 58 years.
As Philippine elections approach on May 10, rights activists worry the Duterte model is proving attractive to politicians elsewhere trying to tap into anger about rampant crime.
Similar killings have been reported in areas around Davao and in other cities on the island. Duterte's grip on political life here underlines how local bosses rather than national parties hold sway. He aims to deliver Davao's votes to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in May.
Arroyo, in turn, has made Duterte her crime consultant as she gets tough on lawlessness ahead of the election, perhaps looking for the secret of his undeniable popularity.
The victims' mothers, who meet regularly in a quiet suburb, see a different side. They question why the poor are gunned down rather than drug lords and why hardly anyone has been prosecuted.
"The city is only safe for the rich, not for the poor," said Neneng, who lost her son to a hit squad eight years ago.
Mona says she knows who killed her husband last May.
"They were the same ones who arrested him and released him," she said.
A coalition of human rights groups here says 109 people were executed in Davao last year, up from about 60 in 2002. The activists recorded nine killings last month.
Nearly all victims of the unsolved killings were poor, some as young as 14, and many were mixed up in petty theft or the drug trade that has reached epidemic proportions in the slums.
Activists who work with slum dwellers say use of the powerful stimulant shabu is rampant among the poor, despite Duterte's campaign and signs proclaiming Davao to be a drug-free city.
"It has become the only viable alternative source of income," said Bernie Mondragon, head of a children's rights center.
Duterte, who looks certain to win a fifth term as mayor in May, says he has nothing to do with the Davao Death Squad, or DDS, as it has become known.
But he seems to do nothing to discourage the killings.
"DDS to the law-abiding and God-fearing citizens is a myth," Duterte said. "To the criminals and to those who want to brutalize society, DDS is a cold reality."
Local reporters giggle nervously at his politically incorrect one-liners such as: "People judge best when they condemn."
Davao crime statistics showing the city has one of the lowest crime rates in the nation suggest his style may be effective, although rights activists question their reliability.
As the afternoon sun glinted off his wraparound sunglasses, Duterte said in the back garden of the After Dark bar that he wasn't losing any sleep over dead criminals.
"Frankly, I do not mind. I do not mind if all the criminals in this world go to hell," Duterte said. "We have less innocent people dying and more of the criminals going down."
His colorful personality and unconventional methods have earned him a reputation far beyond Davao. Some of the recent attention has been less welcome.
On Feb. 9, a group of congressmen came to town and grilled local police chiefs about their failure to solve the most high-profile killing so far -- the brazen shooting last September of outspoken radio commentator and Duterte critic Juan Pala.
Police say Duterte was among the suspects but that their investigation had run into a familiar wall -- a baffling lack of witnesses in a city of 1.3 million people.
Joel Virador, a Davao congressman, said he was saddened that some politicians in Manila were turning a blind eye or even encouraging the Duterte style.
"They should avoid glorifying the situation here in Davao, where so-called criminals are getting killed every day, and they should be one with us in condemning the situation," Virador said.
"There is a breakdown in due process and a civilized society like ours must not set this aside," he said.
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