SENATOR Antonio Trillanes 4th on Monday filed a resolution directing the Senate committee on justice and human rights to investigate the extrajudicial killings purportedly committed by the Davao Death Squad (DDS).
The resolution was an offshoot of the testimony last week of Edgar Matobato, who claimed to be a former member of the DDS. Matobato said the group killed at least 1,000 people upon the orders of then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
Trillanes filed Senate Resolution 151 in a bid to come up with remedial legislation to ensure the protection of the people’s basic rights, particularly their right to life and due process, in the face of the intensified campaign of the government against illegal drugs.
The senator cited Article III, section 11 of the 1987 Constitution which states “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of law.”
“The continuing pattern of killings and the failure of the authorities to stop the same and to conduct meaningful investigations of such incidents can be construed as tolerance on the part of authorities of the crimes, thereby contributing to the climate of impunity,” Trillanes said.
He filed the resolution after Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd said the testimony of Matobato should not have been allowed because the Justice panel is investigating extrajudicial killings in connection with the intensified police campaign against illegal drugs.
Trillanes on Monday also apologized to Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano for his behavior during Senate hearing on Thursday.
Cayetano and Trillanes had a verbal tussle after the former continued to interrogate Matobato after his allotted 10 minutes had lapsed.
Incensed by the non-stop questioning of the witness, Trillanes turned off Cayetano’s microphone.
Trillanes admitted that his behavior was uncalled for and that “it was brought about by the intense passion and emotion of the moment. Nonetheless, it was uncalled for,” the senator said.
At the House of Representatives, Rep. Karlo Nograles accused Sen. Leila de Lima of destabilizing the country by presenting Matobato.
De Lima was removed as head of the Senate justice panel on Monday.
Nograles, the chairman of the House committee on appropriations, earlier denied Matobato’s claims that the DDS killed four of his father’s personnel.
“What we witnessed in that sad episode of a Senate hearing was not a sincere search for truth on the matter of extra judicial killings. What we witnessed was a calculated and unmitigated direct assault on the dignity and reputation of the President of the Republic for reasons I can only surmise as dangerous to the stability of the Republic,” Nograles said.
“The weapon used was a false witness. The platform from which the assault was mounted is a Senate investigation supposedly in aid of legislation,” he added.
“How could the glaring inconsistencies and distortions of facts and events be overlooked? The assault on the dignity and reputation of the sitting President of the Republic has only one ultimate objective—to destroy public trust and confidence in the President. At stake is not simply the success of the war against illegal drugs or the agenda for reform of the Duterte administration. At stake is the stability and survival of our republic,” Nograles said.