An issue of national integrity

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The Senate hearing on extrajudicial killings (EJK) has reached a point of no return. After Thursday’s gruesome details of a hitman’s testimony, the probe must go on to examine his credibility. After all, the man he describes as the central figure who gave the kill orders to the so-called Davao Death Squad happens to be the city’s mayor then and now the incumbent President of the Republic.

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The testimony yesterday of the self-confessed member of the infamous Davao Death Squad (DDS), Edgar Matobato, who testified to having personally participated in the killings and mutilation of scores of murdered victims, left everyone who was witnessing the hearing at the Senate or watching it on TV gasping and horrified.

While the initial Senate inquiry was called to investigate the killings of drug suspects in President Duterte’s war on drugs, Matobato’s testimony shifted public attention dramatically from the drug war to the alleged summary killings that took place in Davao City from 1988 to 2013.

Matobato’s narration of events was gripping, detailed, specific, lethal, and finally, horrifying. He enumerated many incidents of murder. He named names. He spelled our how killings were decided and carried out. He did not hesitate to name President Duterte and his son Paolo, along with numerous police officers and other Davao officials as complicit in the Davao killings.

The reactions from other senators attending the hearing and the denials from the Duterte camp were immediate and vehement.

Senator Panfilo Lacson raised the issue of credibility of the witness, highlighting the inconsistencies in his statements regarding details and his personal knowledge of the people he implicated in his testimony.

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, a staunch Duterte supporter, said Matobato’s testimony was “100 percent lies,” meant to support the Liberal Party’s plot to impeach President Duterte.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd also called Matobato a liar and Senator de Lima, who heads the Senate committee hearing the case on extrajudicial killings, “desperate” to divert public attention away from allegations of her links to the illegal drug trade.

Cayetano even clashed with his colleagues as he grilled the “surprise witness.” His bid to downplay the testimony of Matobato led him to a verbal tussle with Senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes 4th during Thursday’s hearing.

How we handle this issue will be a test of our maturity as a nation, and the strength of our constitutional system.
The world will be watching us.

Members of the administration party and coalition are expected to rally behind the President in a knee-jerk effort to save his government, in which they belong.

In the final analysis, however, this may become an issue of national integrity, morality and survival.
Even politicians will come to realize the meaning of their oaths of office, and their responsibility to country and posterity.

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16 Comments

  1. That senate session was just a waste of taxpayer’s money. The subject should be focused on extra judicial killings related to the anti-drug campaign. Why was the attempt on De Lima included in the testimony where no killing happened and not related to drugs?

  2. i think de lima is so desperate. she is a lawyer and cannot even distinguished a good witness. she is coaching the witness to the extent na siya na ang nagpapaliwanag ng sinasabi ng witness. its very obvious na siya ang scriptwriter. what a shame! sana may drugtest din ang mga senators.

  3. Typical knee-jerk reaction from the press. The man’s testimony has been shot full of holes. I still have to find a newspaper that has written something about Matobato’s inconsistencies. I am more interested in the hearing related to the drug links of De Lima. It has more witnesses, has photos and videos and more damning evidence.

  4. The witness is a LIAR. Apparently coached to give a testimony that reeks of hearsays. NO ONE with enough right in mind would buy this criminal’s lousy story. He admitted killing people HE SHOULD BE IN JAIL !!

  5. Frank A. Tucker on

    Speaking of integrity plus having the ‘eyes of the world’ on PH, with all o this ‘liability’ flying all over the place, how is tourism NOW ?

  6. Senator De Lima is investigating extra judicial killings on PDU30’s war on drugs, but why this witness just came out and start telling a story about extra judicial killings in Davao City when PDU30 was still a mayor? How is De Lima going to craft a legislation on extra judicial killings on the war on drugs and the extra judicial killings that may have had occurred in Davao City when PDU30 was still a mayor? I think Sen. De Lima is trying to create some damage to PDU30, because her love life, sex life, and drug lords connections were revealed by PDU30.

    Presently Sen. De Lima is confused and an ordinary person with an average level of intelligence can notice that the script written and given to her witness were not properly researched because some of the circumstances and events do not match and too much exaggerations. The Senate investigation of extra judicial killings on war on drugs is getting out of control and some of the Senators need to intervene to put closure on this event.

  7. Leodegardo Pruna on

    Nobody in his right mind would believe the lies of Matobato as a witness. His credibility as a witness has been totally debunked. What is coming out is his being used by De Lima. Why? He hid in Pangasinan, totally a stranger in the place, but definitely at the hideout if not mansion of the boyfriend of De Lima. By this time the count is De Otso, two more and Leila will be technically knocked out. God bless the Philippines.

  8. My understanding about this Senate Investigation is about the On going Drug Related killings(EJK) and not the past.I am not defending president But this Senate Investigation is an act of revenge of Sen. De Lima, against the president by shaming her publicly being the THE PROTECTOR OF DRUG LORDS and has an intimate sexual relationship or lover on her own driver.If this Senate Investigation will continue, why not include the Hacienda Luisita and Mendiola Massacre? That was the real EJK! THE Human Right Commission was deaf and silent unto this day. And the massacres family victims got no justice!

    • Agree. Heard a comment this morning from a radio broadcast. It said that the media should stop showing this senate hearing on EJK. Maybe these politicos will stop their showboating when the public and media lose its interest. Ang korni na natin sa totoo lang. Parang mga bata.

      Parang masisisi mo pa nga ang media dahil kung di na lang pinapalabas iyan, baka tumigil pa itong mga senators na ito sa mga kalokohan nila. Ipaubaya na lang sa korte kung may kaso talaga na pwedeng isampa. Well, wika nga ng radio host, iyan ang gustong gusto ng media at public, ang mga nagbabangayan. Hay nako.

  9. Incredible witness.30 persons shooting a person consuming 2 magazines each with the victim still aIve.Only to be killed by an alleged “finishing” with an uziWhom were they shooting at suoerman?OMG

  10. The integrity of the Nation is at stake with all of these Senate hearings being held for publicity and politics. Let’s put the Senate back on the legal track to create good laws. Make the Senate show what legislation they are thinking to produce because of these hearings. Make the Senate show integrity.

  11. Thank you! The Editorial has a bit of sting meant for everybody and on the main for the politicians.

  12. Why only now? He was with the DOJ wpp in 2014. Why did then DOJ Sec. D5 not charge then Mayor Du30 in 2014? Reeks of a plot to oust PDu30 and place VP Leni as President. Even his stories are lies. Nograles refutes allegations 4 of his body guards were killed. He should be given a psychiatric test and drug test.