Senators consider for’ex-DDS member “MATUBATO” 

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson likened Edgar Matobato, the self-confessed member of the so-called “Davao Death Squad,” to Angelo “Ador” Mawanay, the former whistleblower who tried to link him to crimes but eventually went back on his claims.“As an expert investigator, Edgar Matobato is not a credible witness,” Lacson, a former chief of the Philippine National Police, said in an interview after questioning the self-confessedmember of the so-called “Davao Death Squad” at Thursday’s Senate hearing into extrajudicial killings.Lacson grilled Matobato saying he wanted to test the witness’ credibility.Matobato said President Rodrigo Duterte, then mayor of Davao City, ordered many of the more than a thousand murders he said were committed by the DDS, which he said included former communist rebels and law enforcers.He also claimed Duterte’s son, Paolo, the current vice mayor of Davao, also ordered some killings, including that of hotelier Richard King.Matobato also said he had participated in the murder of Sali Macdum, supposedly a foreign terror suspect, who was abducted from Samal Island and then taken to a quarry owned by a policeman where he was killed and buried.But assessing Matobato’s testimony, Lacson said: “Walangcredibility,narinig niyo naman,naiba ang tono nang kinukuwestiyon ko na eh,hindi na siya kasingdefinitenoong nagna-narratena siya(He has no credibility, you heard it, his tone changed when I questioned him, he was not as definite in his narrative) when I started asking questions to test his credibility.”Among the inconsistencies Lacson saw was Matobato’s statement that they used to frequent the Davao office of the Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force, then headed by now Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa, in 2002 and took Macdum there before killing him.Lacson, who headed the PAOCTF before becoming PNP chief, said he was already a senator in 2002 and the unit no longer existed after it was abolished by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo the year before.He also said he could find no mention of Macdum when he Googled the name.Lacson also poked holes in Matobato’s statement that King wasshot at close range at a fast food chain outlet in 2014, pointing out that the businessman was killed in his office.At best, he said, Matobato could have been an “asset” of the Davao police’s heinous crimes unit but knew little, if anything, about the DDS and the killings it supposedly committed.However, he did not totally discount that there were killings.  “Puwedeng may alam,pero hindi ganoon kalawak. Orpuwedengkakapiraso lang ang alam niya,ini-expandna lamang nya parang maging(He may know something, but not that much. Orhe knows only fragments and is expanding on this to make it more) dramatic,” Lacson said.He said Matobato should have been vetted more carefully before being presented to the Senate.“Pagka-ganyan ang testigo aatrasan ko ‘yan eh,saka dapat kapag maghaharap ka ng testigo,i-vetmo muna mabuti(I wouldback off from a witness like that and also, when you present a witness, you should vet him well),” Lacson said.


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