MANILA - Senator Leila de Lima on Monday backed the testimony of retired SPO3 Arthur Lascañas on the existence of the alleged Davao Death Squad (DDS).
De Lima, who is currently detained at the Custodial Center in Camp Crame, said Lascañas' testimony is crucial because it is expected to corroborate the testimony of self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato.
"What gives both their testimonies credibility, especially the statements given under oath by Lascañas recently, is said witnesses' utter lack of motive to lie or manufacture accusations implicating the most powerful man in the country," De Lima said in a statement.
"By coming out and telling their stories, Matobato and Lascañas have everything to lose because they have just pitted themselves against the powers of the President and an entire government," she added.
De Lima also called on her colleagues in the Senate to keep an open mind during Monday's hearing.
"The Filipino people need to know the truth. They deserve to know if, indeed, a murderer is now occupying the most powerful position in the national government," she said.
Lascañas faced the Senate anew on Monday after he flip-flopped on his earlier testimony that the DDS was only a product of "media hype."
Matobato previously said he was happy with Lascañas' confession about the existence of the DDS as this gave weight to his earlier claims that President Rodrigo Duterte ordered killings during his stint as Davao City's mayor.