SENATOR Panfilo Lacson said there were loopholes in the allegations of Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed former member of the Davao Death Squad (DDS), which hurt his credibility as a witness.
Lacson said that it would have been better if Matobato’s testimony had been verified first before he faced the committee hearing.
“Dapat na-i-verify muna ang mga pahayag ni Matobato bago siya naisalang sa Senate hearing,” Lacson said in a television interview on GMA 7.
The senator cited the legal principle of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus (false in one, false in everything) in casting doubt on Matobato’s allegations.
“Maaaring mayroon siyang sinasabing isa, dalawa, tatlong katotohanan, pero ‘pag hinaluan mo na ng marami pang kasinungalinan, hindi na natin alam kung alin ang totoo, alin ang hindi,” Lacson stressed.
He also said briefing a witness is important and should have been done.
“‘Pag may mga testigong ganyan, dapat i-vet mo ‘yan... Importante ‘yung briefing ng testigo. Baka fact-check pa lang, sumablay na,” Lacson said.
This is why, he said, establishing the scene of the crime is important, for instance in Matobato’s allegation that billionaire Richard King was killed on orders of Paolo Duterte.
Matobato said King was murdered at a fastfood restaurant, while news reports said he was killed in his office.
Matobato also said during Thursday’s hearing that a certain terrorist suspect “Sali Makdum” was kidnapped in 2002 and was brought to the office of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF).
“PAOCTF 2002, 2001, wala na ‘yon. Wala na si Erap, wala na ako. Na-disband na ‘yung PAOCTF,” Lacson noted.
However, committee chairperson Senator Leila de Lima, vouched for Matobato’s credibility, saying his failure to recall some specific details does not mean he was lying before the Senate committees looking into the spate of alleged extrajudicial killings.
Meanwhile, Lacson sees no basis for the allegation of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano that the probe could be a ploy initiated by the Liberal Party to damage the reputation of President Duterte, remove him from power and install their own president.
”Ako I won’t buy that. With all due respect kay Senator Cayetano, mukhang masyadong malayo na ang kanyang projection. Tingin ko walang basehan,” said Lacson.
The senator added that he personally knew Vice President Leni Robredo but was not that close to her or any of her staff.
“I don’t see her as one character na dadaan sa ganoon para siya ay maupo bilang pangulo. Para sa akin parang out of bounds, for lack of a better description. Out of bounds ang speculation na di dapat nasabi sa ganoong klaseng pagdinig,” he said.
Just the same, Lacson added, he respects the opinion of Cayetano for the latter might know something that he does not know.