Lascañas admits having bishops' backing

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 08 2017 05:13 PM | Updated as of Mar 08 2017 05:30 PM

Retired policeman SPO3 Arthur Lascañas testifies before an ongoing Senate Inquiry on the alleged killings related to the Davao Death Squad (DDS), at the Senate in Pasay City, on 6 March 2017. Romeo Ranoco, Reuters

MANILA - Arturo Lascañas, a retired policeman who bolstered allegations of President Rodrigo Duterte's ties to a death squad, admitted that several leaders of the local Catholic Church are supporting him. 

In an interview with ANC's "Headstart," Lascañas answered in affirmative a question by anchor Karen Davila, asking if the ones backing him up are members of the Catholic church.

He also affirmed that priests, nuns, members of the Catholic church are supporting him and giving him moral and spiritual uplifting.

Lascañas also maintained that Church officials superior to these members of the clergy know of the support they have provided him.

Asked if it was safe to say that he has the backing of the hierarchy of the Catholic church in the Philippines, he answered "in terms of my spiritual upliftment, yes."

Lascañas also revealed in the interview that he sought a nun friend in Manila right after his 2016 testimony in the Senate, where he had initially denied the existence of the Davao Death Squad.

"Doon nanghingi ako sa kanya ng kapatawaran dahil kasi alam ko na alam niya na nagsinunaling ako and I sought the sister na kung pwede mag-audience ako sa isang pari dahil dito ibibigay ko yung written confession ko at magbigay ako ng personal na oral testimony sa mga madre at mga pari na yun," he said in the interview.

(There, I asked for forgiveness because I know that she knows that I lied. I sought the sister if I could have an audience with a priest to whom I can give a written confession and also deliver an oral testimony to these nuns and priests.)

Lascañas earlier said that deteriorating health and "spiritual renewal" triggered him to confess to killing hundreds of people under the operations of the DDS, in sharp contradiction to his October Senate testimony. 

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV earlier revealed that he facilitated Lascañas' public confession after a Catholic priest approached him

The clergy and Duterte has had a long history of frigid ties, with the tough-talking leader dubbing the Catholic Church as "the most hypocritical institution," and alleging that he was once molested by a Jesuit priest. 

Duterte has also insulted Church leaders for opposing his bloody war on drugs, his support of the Reproductive Health Law, and his move to revive the death penalty.

 But in the interview, Lascañas held belief that the Church members backing him are not using him to get back at the tough-talking leader.

"Ako ang lumapit sa kanila. Well in fact ako ang nanggamit sa church na matupad ko ang personal kong layunin to tell all the truth in public," he said.