Senator Paniflo “Ping” Lacson questioned Friday fellow Senator Leila de Lima for seemingly accepting the testimony of self-confessed former Davao Death Squad member Edgar Matobato as “gospel truth”.
“Being Chair, sa iyo nag-report ang witness, ikaw ang handler, ikaw man ang nag-(brief). Pero huwag ka na magpadala na lahat na sasabihin niya hook, line and sinker, kukunin mo na as gospel truth. Di naman tama yan (Being Chair, you handle the witness, you brief the witness but don’t make it look like you believe what he says hook, line and sinker, you take it as gospel truth. That’s not right),” Lacson said.
He noted that he did not get to ask as many questions as he wanted during the Senate hearing where Matobato was present, because he lost interest in the manner in which it was conducted.
“Sabi ko nga, nawalan ako ng gana magtanong (I lost interest in asking questions),” Lacson said, adding that Matobato’s testimony sounded “dramatic” to him.
“Baka magmukha akong kontrabida na masyadong obnoxious. Baka magkaroon ng impression na ganoon (I might look like the villain who is too obnoxious. There might be that impression),” he further said.
Lacson, like Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, also maintained that de Lima should have informed him about presenting Matobato as a witness so that he could have helped her brief him.
Unlike Cayetano however, Lacson said that he did not believe that Matobato’s testimony was “100 percent lies” but was more like a mix of truths and lies.
He also said that he does not believe Cayetano’s claim that Matobato’s revelation is part of the Plan B of Liberal Party members, including Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, to impeach President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Mukhang masyadong malayo na ang kanyang projection. Tingin ko walang basehan. Kilala ko personal si VP Leni, nakaharap ko na rin siya, siguro twice, pero di naman ako ganoon ka-close sa kanya o kung sino man sa staff niya. Pero I don’t see her as one character na dadaan sa ganoon para siya ay maupo bilang pangulo (It seems like his projection has gone too far. I personally know VP Leni. We are not that close but I don’t see her as one character who would go through that just to be president),” Lacson said.
“Para sa akin parang out of bounds. Just the same irerespeto ko opinion baka may info si APC (Cayetano) di ko alam (For me, it is out of bounds. Just the same, I respect the information APC has that I might not be aware of),” he added.
Matobato, 57, claimed that then mayor now President Rodrigo Duterte recruited him as a member of the Lambada Boys which eventually came to be known as the DDS, tasked to kill criminals in Davao City from 1988 to 2013.
He recalled how the group was ordered by Duterte himself to kill criminals and non-criminals alike, citing the killing of bodyguards of then mayoral candidate Prospero Nograles who ran against his daughter Sara Duterte in 2010; a certain Richard King who was allegedly a rival of his son and incumbent Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte over a woman; radio reporter and critic of Duterte, Jun Pala; and an unnamed fixer who worked at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) among others. (Azer N. Parrocha/PNA)