SENATOR Panfilo Lacson was not convinced of the credibility of Edgar Matobato, who claims to be member of the infamous Davao Death Squad (DDS), reminding him that he may face charges if he is proven to be lying before the Senate.
“Nagdudunung-dunungan ito,” said Lacson in an interview.
“Wala kayong judicial immunity na malilibre sa kaso at gagamitin na state witness. Yung mga tintestify ninyo ay puwedeng gamitin laban sa inyo,” he told Matobato.
Lacson chairs the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs which is jointly holding an investigation with the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights chaired by Sen. Leila de Lima into the alleged extrajudicial killings amid the Duterte administration’s campaign against illegal drugs.
Lacson doubted Matobato’s statement 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) supposedly to be killed.
PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa once served as a PAOCTF officer.
Dela Rosa, however, denied knowing Matobato and a certain Arthur Lascañas who was the supposed “team leader” of the death squad.
And Lacson, former chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the PAOCTF, pointed out that PAOCTF was abolished in 2001.
“Wala nang PAOCTF noong 2002 kasi ako’y senador na nung 2001 at nawala na yung PAOCTF,” Lacson said.
Likewise, Lacson stressed that he cannot find any “Sali Makdum” on the internet. “Kanina pa ako Google nang Google kay Sali Makdum ... gigil na gigil na ako wala akong makita. Baka non-existent yan.”
Later, De Lima said she received information that the PAOCTF existed even after Lacson stepped down as police chief then.
Also during the hearing, Lacson said that contrary to Matobato’s statement that billionaire businessman Richard King was killed inside a fastfood chain, a quick search on the Internet would show that King was shot at close range in the head inside his office.
“So mali yung kwento ninyo ... yan sinabi ko eh mag-testify under oath pero mali,” Lacson said.
But De Lima showed a picture of a fastfood chain near the Vital C building.
Matobato claimed that only Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte ordered the killing of King because of a woman, who owned a branch of the fastfood chain.
“Noong 2014 pinatay ang pinakabilyonaro na si Richard King sa Davao City. Ang nag-utos si Paolo Duterte dahil nagra-rival sila ni Richard King sa babae, yung may-ari ng [fastfood chain], si Ochoa hindi ko alam ang pangalan,” Matobato alleged.
Lacson believed that Matobato could just be an asset of heinous crimes and pretended to be closely involved in the killings.
“Pwede asset siya ng heinous crimes kuno-kuno pero di ganoon kalalim involvement niya na ngayon mukhang pine-pretend niya na ganoon kalalim,” the senator said.
Meanwhile, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV recommended placing Matobato under the protection and custody of the Senate.