Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV is wondering why President Rodrigo Duterte’s Cabinet men and supporters are going out of their way to debunk the claims of self-confessed Davao Death Squad hitman Edgar Matobato that the former Davao City mayor carried out summary killings.
“Nagtataka nga ako bakit itong iba ang nagdududa kay Matobato, eh yung President nga umamin na may inuzi, may pinatay siya. Sa dami niyang sinabi bakit parang nagdududa sila, na bina-validate lang ng Presidente nila,” said Trillanes in an interview with Nimfa Ravelo.
In May 2015, Duterte directly admitted to having a hand in the Davao killings in a TV interview in his hometown: “They say I am the death squad? True, that is true.”
In a forum sponsored by the Workplace Advocates on Safety in the Philippines, Duterte explained why his city was the ninth safest city in the world: “How did I reach that title among the world’s safest cities? Kill them all.”
In his Miting de Avance at Luneta Park last May, Duterte said: “If I make it to Malacañang, I will just do what I did as mayor. You drug pushers, holdup men and do-nothings, you better get out because I’ll kill you.”
While Duterte has ignored the issue in two public speaking events since Matobato dropped his bombshells last Thursday, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II and Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo have issued blanket denials, dismissing the charges as all lies.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said that while Matobato sounded “credible,” he cautioned against jumping into conclusions without verifying Matobato’s allegations.
But for Trillanes, Matobato’s damaging testimony was not about Duterte’s popularity but on what was good or evil.
“Ngayon ang sa ‘kin dito, ke popular ka o hindi, kung mali ka mali ka. Papaano mamumulat ang mga kababyan natin sa katotohanan, sa tama at mali. Iyan na yan.. Only time will tell. But that’s irrelevant going to the ongoing proceeding,” said Trillanes.
Trillanes said just like the corruption probe against former Vice President Jojo Binay, he expected witnesses and evidence to come pouring out as long as Matobato was allowed to speak on his experience with Duterte from his recruitment as one of the original members of “Lambada Boys” in 1998 to his forced departure from the DDS in 2014.
“Baka dumating tayo diyan. Di ba yung kay VP Binay dami naglabasan ibat-ibang ebidensiya. Pero kung di aabot dun kung ngayon pa lang papatayin na ang imbestigasyon,” said Trillanes.
Duterte’s ally, Senate President Koko Pimentel, has rejected the grant of protective custody to Matobato saying he has no evidence to back up his testimony and doubted whether his life was in danger. [source]
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