OPINION: Leila had evidence vs Mayor Duterte

Buddy Gomez

Posted at Mar 10 2017 04:41 AM

Has anyone ever wondered why President Duterte is scared shit of Leila de Lima and hates her so?  And by extension, why the President has publicly exhibited his disdain for “human rights” and for the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) itself?

Leila de Lima, as chair of the CHR in 2009, came closest to pinning down Mayor Rodrigo Duterte with the crimes of the Davao Death Squad (DDS). Leila was in the process of unmasking the “capo di tutti capi” of a blood-thirsty criminal syndicate. Duterte felt it in his bones!

Imagine! CHR would have prevented the national catastrophe we now suffer from--the Duterte presidency!   

Leila and CHR came closest to commencing the process of putting a reputed serial killer criminal behind bars. Alas! CHR  was toothless and did not legally possess the jaws to bite off Duterte’s black butt! Besides, terrorizing intimidation was a dark cloud hovering all over Davao City under Duterte’s mayorship. “Fear of Duterte spelled the end of DDS probe,” according to Sen. Trillanes, a sentiment apparently common to Davao City then,  and now, to the Duterte lackeys in the Senate. 

At that time, belying the bragging claim that the Duterte ‘style’ of peace and order governance was acceptedly popular, the Regional Office of the Ombudsman received and responded to very serious concerns aired by a local group  known as “Davao City Deserves a Good Government Movement.”  The body count then--“unsolved killings of 800 persons.”  This advocacy was never heard from again.

And, as we now know, intentional lethargy and non-cooperation of otherwise concerned local agencies were amply rewarded from the Mayor’s suspicious and questionable sources of largesse. In this relevant connection, there remains unresolved a Commission on Audit issue holding Mayor Duterte responsible for the alleged hiring of some 11,200 plus ‘ghost employees,’ costing the Davao City coffers over P700 million. And to which, then Mayor Duterte’s response was: “That is none of your business!”

Intentional Neglect?

This patent weakness in CHR’s current mandate should have been the principal concern, “in aid of legislation,” of the Senate hearings, so abruptly terminated by committee chair, Sen. Lacson, after just one sitting. Was there intentional neglect? Having witnessed the Duterte-manipulated Senate charades, it is quite evident that none of Duterte comedians and poltroons have even read the most cogent and relevant documents that unequivocally address the subject matter for which the Committee hearing ought to have been convened, in the first place.

And even if they had read the material, it is highly unlikely that the likes of a Manny Pacquiao and of a Tito Sotto would have understood what is staring them in the face! 

I am speaking of the CHR Chair de Lima’s report: “In the Matter of Extralegal Or Summary Killings in Davao City Attributed To The So-Called Davao Death Squad For The Period 2005-2009.”  And the corresponding 23-page CHR Resolution of June 28, 2012 that was taken up by succeeding Chair Etta Rosales

Confirmatory Confessions

The self-confessions and testimonies of Edgar Matobato and Arturo Lascanas before the Senate hearings confirmed the 7-year-old findings of then CHR Chair Leila de Lima. These she unearthed in her 2009 courageous investigations conducted in various venues in Davao City.     

Documented testimonies taken during the massive and expansive public hearings led and conducted by De Lima in 2009 included eyewitness accounts pointing to both Matobato and Lascanas committing the atrocities they have confessed to seven years later. Admissions and confessions against their self-interest, fully aware that very severe penal consequences now await them, surely must have carried inevitable moral value. 

Unfortunately, the Duterte puppets in the Senate summarily refused to accept the veracities of the contrite criminals. One is led to conclude that such cavalier attitude conforms to the Duterte script crafted in Malacanang  for the senatorial sycophants to toe!  Don’t we all know that in panic, immediately after Lascanas’ bombshell  revelations, Duterte summoned seven senators to the Palace?

It is well to remember what Edgar Matobato recounted in his Senate testimony  (September 15 and 22, 2016). Upon instructions of Mayor Duterte, a murderous posse was assembled to ambush the De Lima team while undertaking on-site investigations in the quarry area where extrajudicial killing bodies were disposed of and buried. Matobato, under oath, declared he was part of the ambush team. But for a few meters more, Matobato and gang would have accomplished its bloody mission. But De Lima and probe party, by a fateful stroke, walked away from gunsight view and distance back to their vehicles by the roadside, having satisfied their ocular visit. 

'Momentum of lethal temper'

When the handwritten confession/journal of retired policeman Arturo Lascanas was revealed in media, the Duterte horde of zealots and trolls reacted swiftly with disbelief and condescension. The Presidential legal counsel was emphatic in his  denunciation. “The so-called journal is a fabrication,” he said. The journal must have been ghostwritten by a lawyer “with a penchant for literary prose,” said Malacanang’s self-infatuated resident buffoon, Salvador Panelo. He pooh-poohed the ability of “an ordinary police sergeant” to summon phrases such as “presidential derby,” “Waterloo,”  “telecommunication,” and “Divine-something,”  all used in the hitman’s written confession.

Wednesday evening (Mar 8), I viewed Rappler’s exclusive 40-minute video interview  of Lascanas by Chay Florentino-Hofilena. I found the retired ‘police sergeant’ cool, calm and collected. Exactly the same demeanor he displayed during his Senate appearance. Furthermore, he was articulate and engaging in his “Tag-lish” (a mix of Tagalog-English patois) responses to Chay’s probing queries. To avid fans of blow-by-blow Filipino politics as well as to political news junkies, I strongly recommend viewing  this Rappler interview. Lascanas predicts more witnesses, more confessions! ) You be the judge!

Asked by Chay for his take on the character of his former “capo,” Lascanas described Duterte as possessing “a momentum of lethal temper.” (Hey, Panelo, here is “an ordinary police sergeant...with a penchant for literary prose.”  What say you, buffoon?

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.