EDITORIAL

Major inquiry is needed for explosive allegations about the Davao Death Squad

16

THE Philippine Senate should take a long, deep breath before calling for a public inquiry by the chamber to probe the veracity of the shocking revelations of retired Davao City police officer Arthur Lascañas concerning the existence of the Davao Death Squad (DDS) during the mayoralty of President Rodrigo Duterte in that city.

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A thorough investigation of his allegations is indubitably imperative, but we are not convinced that the Senate is the proper body to do this task fairly and effectively, and without the impulse to grandstand before the media and the public.

After months of Senate hearings on the alleged extra-judicial killings (EJKs) in the government’s war on drugs, the chamber, through its blue-ribbon committee and its public order and drugs committee, did not turn out a successful investigation. It has failed up to now to come up with a joint committee report that the public can judge on its conclusions.

In fact, we now have reason to fear that the Senate could wind up impelled to apologize to the witness, self-confessed killer Edgar Matobato, who boldly testified before the chamber about the existence of the death squad, the many killings it perpetrated, the role that he personally played, and the alleged role of then Mayor Duterte in ordering some of the killings.

The hapless witness was berated, scorned, and denounced as a liar by several senators for his allegations. And then the chamber filed a charge of perjury against him.

That ghastly treatment and ill-considered indictment will have to be eaten by some senators, if the new claims of Lascañas prove to be well-founded.

Lascañas not only corroborates some of the key aspects of Matobato’s testimony, he squarely alleges that then Davao City Mayor Duterte directed the operations of the DDS, and even paid as much as P100,000 for a single killing. These allegations must be fully subjected to careful examination.

The allegations against President Duterte raise the stakes of an inquiry to a high level of public importance and significance that must be treated with great competence and judiciousness.

The implications of such an investigation are so great, that there will be a temptation at one end to whitewash the probe. And there will be at the other a desire to exploit it for publicity and political advantage.

Neither should be allowed to happen. Instead there should be an exhaustive and unsparing investigation.

Congress should consider appointing a special commission to investigate Lascaña’s declarations, as well as Matobato’s earlier testimony in the Senate.

The inquiry should be separated from the other, and also necessary, inquiry to get to the bottom of the drug killings, which continue to confuse and alarm.

The nation must not forget that gruesome claims about the DDS have been in existence for some time, and yet no administration has had the guts to determine their truth. It is surely time for the nation to get the truth, however or whoever it hurts.

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16 Comments

  1. Turns out this senate is just as useless as the last elected senators probably because a lot of them got reelected even tho they stole the pork barrel funds, whitewashed the SAF 44 investigation and covered up every liberal party scandal.

  2. Again, what is new??? These accusations made RODRIGO DUTERTE PRESIDENT of this country! Plain and simple he killed CRIMINALS! Not farmers protesting for their rights, not saf agents left behind and not the Yolanda victims whose funds were corrupted.

  3. A very funny editorial. Well for a good sum of money, any gun for hire on the street can be a ‘ witness” to serve Trillanes’ and De Lima’s cause.

    • Your statement also sound so very funny. Your statement is very synonymous to the Bilibid Convicted Drug Lords hired by Aguirre to testify against Delima to serve Duterte’s cause in exchange for having a smart TV, cellphones, internet connections inside the detention cell. Even more the aforementioned Bilibid Drug Lords were being promised by Aguirre for possible pardon if they testify against Delima.You are so very funny…hahaaha

  4. Still some Filipinos who are fanatics of Duterte who are willing to be blind and deaf to the fact that he ordered those killings long before he became President. He even bragged about it and they still say it is not true? THIS COUNTRY IS GOING TO THE DOGS.

    • I disagree. frankly, if those being killed are criminals, I’ll be happy to share financial contribution to the killers. why spend millions in jail for criminals. without them, I could sleep at night. we should not be hypocrite as righteous persons.

  5. Senators are scared with Duterte. Only Trillanes has the guts to face Duterte. I cannot blame them. This guy is a killer. What will happen in the investigation ? Nothing. It has to go to courts. The senate hearing is not a court.

    • The Great Defiant on

      do you know how many was killed during
      2010
      2011
      2012
      2013
      2014
      2015
      6 years before DU30 assumed the presidency?
      you can see PNP Directorate fro Investigative and Detective Management before writing your comments here idiots, stupid, dumb yellow trolls..

    • Your idol Trollanes should follow your advice to go to the proper court and not thru media. He is only grandstanding.

    • Traidor Trillanes may have the guts becuase he has nothing to loose. He is at the end of his political career because citizens knew his real color. So just make noise until the end of his term.

    • to the max, have you not wondered why the so called flag lawyers resorted to press conference instead of filing a criminal case against du30 in court?? have you not noticed also what they said that the allegation of the witness can be taken to impeach du30?? why insist on impeachment only if these lawyers know they have something very solid as evidence?? have you noticed also that one of the lawyers in the press con is atty padilla who was replaced by du30 as philhealth president?? am all for investigating the dds thing but not to be done by the senate. what the senate could do is create a fact finding bodyfor this purpose and not let the politicians do the investigating. just saying

  6. Bonifacio Claudio on

    This editorial failed to mention, if my memory does not fail me, that during the EJK senate sessions, Lascanas declared that there is no DDS and categorically called Matobato a LIAR. NOW all of a sudden, Lascanas, presented by Trillanes, is corroborating Matobato’s accusations that DU30 is the head of DDS and orders the EJK in Davao directly gainsaying that Matobato is a liar. The common denominator NOW of Matobato and Lascanas in their testimonies against DU30 is that THEY ARE BOTH PRESENTED BY TRILLANES to the senate session and senate media, respectively. Don’t we smell stinking malice in such presentations? Duh !!!