‘Lascañas’ testimony unacceptable’

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THE Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs found the retraction of retired police officer Arturo Lascañas on the supposed existence of the Davao Death Squad unacceptable for lack of evidence.

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Lascañas had confirmed the existence of the DDS, the group behind the series of killing of suspected criminals in Davao City when President Rodrigo Duterte was mayor of the city.

The committee chaired by Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Lascañas’ retraction does not impair his earlier testimony.
“Mere retraction made by Lascañas does not necessarily vitiate his original testimony,” the committee said in its 20-page report.

The public order committee allowed Lascanas to testify in March to recant his earlier testimony.

He was first invited as a resource person of the justice and human rights panel that looked into the DDS in October last year.

In that hearing, Lascañas denied the existence of the liquidation squad and accused Edgar Matobato of lying.
Matobato, who claimed to be a member of the DDS, said he witnessed the killing of several criminals in Davao.

But in March, Lascañas said Matobato was telling the truth and that Duterte was involved in the killings.

“Merely because a witness says that what he had declared is false and that what he now says is true, is not sufficient ground for concluding that the previous testimony is false. No such reasoning has ever crystallized into a rule of credibility,” the report said.

The committee added that the former police officer appeared more credible in his first Senate testimony.
It said his second testimony was full of loopholes.

“Apart from the lack of corroborating evidence, his testimony was easily negated and destroyed by established facts, legal presumptions and resolutions of government agencies concerned that this Committee was expecting to hear,” it added.

“This inquiry only highlights the fact that there are individuals who have the audacity to spread falsity before this August body that obtains its power from the highest law of the land,” the report said.

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