SENATOR Panfilo Lacson is “open” to the reopening of the investigation into the alleged extrajudicial killings of suspected drug dealers and users to gather more information on the reported drug-related summary executions.
Lacson, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice which probed the drug-relate murders, was reacting to the report that Sen. Richard Gordon had terminated the investigation and was already finalizing his committee report.
He said he had wanted to hear the testimony of the relatives of the victims of alleged summary killings but Gordon was against it.
Gordon, chairman of the justice panel, had prevented the witnesses, under the protection of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), to continue with their testimony last Oct. 13 as he opted to tackle the proposed measures to revive the death penalty to address drug trafficking.
Asked whether he believes the extrajudicial killings probe should not be terminated this early, Lacson said: “Ako, open to reopen. Sabi ko nga ang qualification ko is I need somebody or something that will corroborate or buttress ang tinestify ni (confessed killer Edgar) Matobato. Sa witnesses ng CHR I still want to hear them out.”
Matobato had testified that he used to be a member of a “vigilante” group under then Mayor now President Duterte. But Gordon and Lacson rejected some of his testimony for being inconsistent.
“Sa akin medyo kulang pa rin kasi hindi napayagan ang (relatives ng) victims (na under protection) ng CHR. During the last hearing I was requesting Chairman Gordon why don’t we just allow them to present, just to get it over with?” Lacson said in a chance interview.
“But he (Gordon) was very passionate, caught in the moment, meron siyang issue with Sen Leila de Lima. Hindi ko na lang din in-insist, baka mag-three-cornered fight kami roon,” he added.
But Lacson agreed with Gordon that there is no proof to link President Rodrigo Duterte to the unabated killings of suspected drug traffickers. “Iyan din nakita ko. Kasi ang hinihintay ko is something or somebody who will corroborate Matobato’s testimony. As of now wala kaming nakitang magko-corroborate.”
He also believes that the extrajudicial killings were not state-sponsored. “Walang showing na state-sponsored because we asked them.”