SENATOR Antonio Trillanes 4th on Sunday said he was ready to present evidence that could show confessed “Davao Death Squad” member Edgar Matobato was telling the truth.
Trillanes claimed that while his colleagues in the Senate were focused on trying to discredit Matobato during two Senate inquiries, he was busy gathering information and documents that would validate the witness’ testimony.
“There are pieces of the information given by Matobato that can be easily verified, but instead of doing it, they [colleagues]tried to find a hole on his testimony,” Trillanes said in a radio interview.
Matobato had claimed before the Senate justice committee that President Rodrigo Duterte was behind the summary killings of enemies and crime suspects in Davao City from 1988 to 2013.
Trillanes said he would present the new evidence in the coming days. “This is to show to my colleagues that there are other ways of validating the testimony of the witness aside from badgering the witness and try to look for inconsistencies in his testimony,” he added.
The senator lamented that some of his colleagues were determined to discredit Matobato by accusing the witness of lying in his testimony on the basis of what he said were “trivial inconsistencies.”
He cited as example the supposed inconsistencies in Matobato’s narration regarding the killing of Sali Makdum, whom the witness claimed was an international terrorist.
Trillanes noted that one senator had insisted that Matobato told the Senate justice committee inquiry it was President Duterte, back then mayor of Davao City, who ordered the terrorist killed.
“Matobato never said that it was President Duterte who ordered the killing of Makdum and I can show it in transcripts of the hearing,” the senator added.
He said there were many instances wherein Duterte directly or personally gave orders, but the Makdum killing was not ordered by the former Davao City mayor.
Trillanes also said he was able to obtain verifiable information that would prove that Matobato was telling the truth when he claimed he was employed as a contractual worker of the Davao City government when he was with the so-called Davao Death Squad.
The senator pointed out that a denial from the local government of Davao City would have shown that Matobato was lying. But there has been no denial, he said.
“So now we were able to get information regarding that matter which I would be presenting along with other information,” he added.
Trillanes insisted that Matobato’s testimony was important because the witness was claming that the former Davao City mayor, now the President of the Philippines, was a murderer.
If the Senate is willing to look into allegations of corruption involving certain public officials, it should be more interested in finding out if the President was really involved in summary killings in Davao City, he argued.
Trillanes noted there was even a time when the President bragged about ordering the killing of more than 1,000 people in Davao. Thus, Matobato’s statement can help in finding out the truth, he said.