Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo of the Liberal Party resented claims of defeated vice presidential candidate and Sen. Alan Cayetano that the LP is behind destabilization moves against the Duterte administration.
Robredo, the party’s highest elected official, chided Cayetano after Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed former member of the so-called Davao Death Squad, told Senate investigators that he had been involved in killing at least 1,000 people on orders of then-Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte
Among Matobato’s victims, according to his own accounts, included four bodyguards of former Speaker Prospero Nograles, as well as drug pushers, rapists, snatchers and Muslims.
Cayetano pointed out that Matobato’s accounts could get President Duterte impeached, and the beneficiary would be no other than Robredo.
“We are offended by Senator Cayetano’s accusation that the Liberal Party is plotting to oust the President and that I will be the intended beneficiary of this plan. As I have reiterated time and again, it is not good for the country to go through another period of upheaval, where the common Filipino will suffer the most,” Robredo, a lawyer, said.
She won the vice presidential race with 14,418,817 votes, beating Cayetano by more than eight million votes.
After winning the vice presidency, Robredo was named by Duterte as the head of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, making her a member of the Cabinet.
She called for vigilance in light of Matobato’s damning accusations against Duterte.
“The allegations raised by Senate witness Edgar Matobato are serious. I enjoin the public to remain vigilant and discerning as the investigation unfolds,” Robredo said.
“We must exhaust all efforts to get to the truth with due regard for our democratic processes and the rule of law,” she added.
But for Duterte allies Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of Davao del Norte and Rep. Sherwin Tugna of Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption party-list group, Matobato’s claims are mere allegations.
“There’s nothing new there. The statements were recycled. I am from Davao and I know nothing about the Davao Death Squad. Duterte Die Hard Supporter is how I see DDS. I am a member of DDS,” Alvarez said in a statement.
“We should be responsible in our search for the truth. We are broadcasting to the public sensitive testimonies that allegedly implicate the highest governing authority of the land. Until such testimony is subjected to a trial, all of what he [Matobato] said are mere allegations,” Tugna said in another statement.
“Allegations of criminal acts should be determined by the courts, not by any legislative body,” Tugna, a lawyer like Robredo, added.