(Photo credits to newsinfo.inquirer.net)
By Maria Katreena Saguid
Senator Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, put into question the credibility of Edgar Matobato after receiving a series of inconsistent answers, September 15.
Matobato, hailing from Davao City, is the latest witness at the Senate investigation on the continuous rise of extrajudicial killings and summary executions that had just resumed this Thursday.
“Ako po ang dating hepe ng Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF),” said Lacson. “Ang sabi ninyo sa narration ninyo kanina, [noong] 2002 nagtipun-tipon kayo sa PAOCTF at pinag-usapan ninyo yung pagkapatay kay Sali Makdum.”
Sali Makdum, a suspected foreign terrorist whom they kidnapped, was hanged and severed into pieces in 2002.
However, Lacson said that Matobato’s admission could not be possible since he filed for candidacy as senator in May 2001 and upon his resignation, the PAOCTF was disbanded.
Matabato, who identified himself as a former member of the Lambada boys, a group of vigilantes later known as the Davao Death Squad, admitted to a number of crimes.
Some of which included hanging of victims, cutting them open and filling them with hollow blocks to easier dispose them in open seas.
Matobato also revealed that Richard King, a Cebuano businessman, was killed in Davao City in 2014 under the alleged orders of Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte. Witnesses said that the two were alleged love rivals.
“Pumunta siya (Paolo Duterte) doon (office),” recounted Matobato. “[Nagplano sila] doon. Nagsalita din ang kasama namin. Nag-uusap usap naman din kami. Ginawa nila tapos umuwi muna sa bahay yung tumira kay Richard King.”
Matobato later added that these two were double-crossed by other members. He said that King was shot once in the head in a McDonald’s fast-food chain
This was where Lacson interceded having read from an Internet source that King was killed in his office in Davao City instead. Matobato explained that he was only told about this story not having been part of the group responsible for it.
“Kaya ko gustong mag-credibility test tayo dito kasi kayo ‘yong pangunahing witness [na] naririto.” Lacson said.
He reminded Matobato that since he has not yet been given legislative immunity, his statements could be used against him.
Sen. Leila De Lima also added that a witness must only say the things he knows personally or at least, admit if he is uncertain.
Lacson also questioned the existence of Sali Makdum. “Kanina pa ko Google nang Google kay Sali Makdum. Gigil na gigil na ko [dahil] walang Sali Mukdum na lumalabas.”
Also, De Lima disclosed she had learned from a source that “even after the exit of Sen. Ping Lacson…PAOCTF existed. The office was supposedly in Malacañang and that is why we can actually verify whether there have been records of operations or arrests from 2003.”
“Legally, officially the PAOCTF was abolished via E.O. 10 series of 2001.” She further added that, “DENR has various press releases from 2012 to 2013 quoting PAOCTF.” She clarified however that this information must still be verified.