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10月4日のまにら新聞から

Two accused by self-confessed gunman deny link to Davao killings

[ 667 words|2016.10.4|英字 (English) ]

Two people who were accused by self-confessed Davao Death Squad member Edgar Matobato if involvement in several killings in Davao City denied the allegations hurled against them, branding the alleged assassin as a liar.

Senior Police Officer 3 Arthur Lascanas, 55, whom Matobato tagged as the team leader of the death squad and reportedly a close associate President Rodrigo Duterte, said Matobato's claims linking him to several murders in Davao City are all hogwash.

"Those are not true," Lascanas said in response to the several cases of murder where Matobato linked him as enumerated by Duterte's ally, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano.

In previous Senate hearings on extrajudicial killings, Matobato claimed Lascanas was death team leader of the death squad where other policemen, soldiers, rebel returnees and other civilians are members.

Lascanas, set to retire this year December, belied the existence of Duterte's death squad which according to Matobato was responsible for the murder of over 1,000 people.

"There is no Davao Death Squad. It's just a media hype," Lascanas said.

On Matobato, whom Lascanas said he first met in 1996, he surmised the confessed hitman lied in his testimony to discredit Duterte.

"I'm sorry. This is only personal, maybe this is about politics. He wants to destroy the President," Lascanas said.

The former chief of the heinous crime division of the Davao City police, retired Superintendent Dionisio Abude, also belied Matobato's allegations.

“We are not into killings. But we are there to conduct investigations, follow up cases, do surveillance and other opportunities to implement the warrant of those persons,” Abude, who retired from the police service in 2013, said.

Abude, 59, said he headed the division from January 15, 2003 until March 8, 2006. He boasted his accomplishments during his term which include the arrest of 69 suspected criminals alive.

He even showed a video of a TV program which enumerated his achievements in Davao City.

This is contrary to Matobato's testimony Abude was present at the heinous crimes division to plan to killing of suspected terrorist Sali Makdum in 2002.

The two were among the 16 retired and incumbent policemen invited in the hearing by Senate committees on justice and human rights, public order and dangerous drugs.

"If I was really close to the mayor (Duterte), why is that I wasn't able to help them," said Lascanas.

Their supposed closeness began in 1998 when he recommended Matobato to a post at the local government of the Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte.

"We were close because he entrusted a property there to me," said Lascanas.

He denied some persons mentioned by de Lima were members of the DDS such as a certain Tony Rivera and Chief Inspector Jaycee Francia.

On their alleged torture of Matobato , Lascanas found it odd the former's first affidavit in September 2014 does not include a medical certificate as a supporting document while his second sworn statement he executed before investigators the National Bureau of Investigation on June 4, 2015 already has a document.

"There is a probability this statement of Matobato in September was taken not in Metro Manila. There is a possibility there was no torture at all," said Matobato.

De Lima retorted it was just his opinion to which he replied. "That is my humble opinion."

De Lima said Abude's administrative case in 2012 before the Ombudsman where he was penalized for "unabated killings" was attributed to the death squad.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales found Abude guilty of simple neglect of duty together with 20 police officers where they were penalized of a fine equivalent to one month salary.

The resolution said from 2005 to 2008, 720 persons were killed in Davao City, 97 in 2005; 165 in 2006; 199 in 2007 and 259 in 2008.

Abude, then the police chief of the Calinan district police station, said they tried their best in investigating the murders.

"Every incident in our area was properly investigated. However, there were no witnesses who came out in the open." Emmanuel Tupas/DMS