MANILA – Despite the denials of President Duterte's kin and allies of "Davao Death Squad" (DDS) assassin Edgar Matobato's testimony, Senator Antonio Trillanes said the witness is "very credible."
"Sa kabuuan, very credible siya as a witness. Marami ang minention niya na details na hindi pwedeng malaman ng kung sinu-sino lang (As a whole, he is very credible as a witness. He mentioned a lot of details that not just anyone would know)," Trillanes said of Matobato, who was questioned by lawmakers during a hearing of the Senate Justice and Human Rights Committee on Thursday.
READ: Duterte ordered killing of sister's lover, LTO fixer, claims witness
Even Philippine National Police Chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa has heard of Matobato as a "notorious hit man," Trillanes said, and added that it is understandable that there are some holes in his testimony because it's been years since Matobato worked as a hit man from 1988 to 2013.
The bottom line, Trillanes said, is that "here is a witness who in my opinion is very credible, kailangan lang natin icheckout ang ilang detalye."
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However, it remains to be seen what the public will want to do with the president, who was named by Matobato as one of the DDS's supposed main patrons.
"Maraming options iyan. Pero ayaw ko munang pumunta doon bago mag-ouster step. Mayroon pang sequence of hearings, makikita natin," he said.
"This is a democracy. Nasa taong bayan kung gusto mong mamamatay tao ang presidente mo. Then, sige lang. Tanggapin natin. Kung hindi, may options available."
President Duterte's eldest son has denied Matobato's allegations that they used his services as an assassin to further their own personal and political goals.
"What de Lima and this certain Matobato say in public are bare allegations in the absence of proof. They are mere hearsay. I will not dignify with an answer the accusations of a madman," Davao Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte said in a statement.
READ: Paolo Duterte denies drug abuse, links to vigilante slays
The vice mayor, Matobato said, allegedly asked him to kill a rival for a woman's attention.
The president’s sister also denied allegations that Matobato was ordered to kill a dance instructor who was reported to be her lover.
READ: Duterte's sister denies lover was chopped up by 'death squad'
"That is a total lie. Malaking kasinungalingan yan," Jocelyn Duterte said, and labeled the alleged expose a "politically motivated plot" masterminded by Senator Leila De Lima.
While Malacanang has denied Matobato's allegations, Duterte has kept his silence on the issue, and instead said on Thursday, during a visit to members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Camp Tecson, Bulacan, that he will release a third "narco-list" naming local government officials and policemen who are supposedly supporters of the illegal drug trade.