7 more witnesses to prove Duterte's death squad ties, says Trillanes

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 15 2017 12:14 PM | Updated as of Mar 16 2017 01:23 AM

President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. File/Composite

MANILA - Senator Antonio Trillanes IV will present up to seven witnesses to reveal what they know of the alleged vigilante group Davao Death Squad (DDS).

Trillanes said Wednesday they are still vetting the witnesses, but they are "going to present them to the public, and it doesn't have to be in the Senate committee."

"The five are [confessed members of the DDS], but the two are let's just say below the category of Mr. [Edgar] Matobato, but they are eye witnesses as well," he said in an interview with ANC's "Early Edition," referring to a confessed hitman of the DDS who testified before the Senate last year.

"All of them would confirm what [retired SPO3 Arturo] Lascañas and Matobato said and they'll be coming up with specific incidents that's peculiar to their own testimonies," he added.

Trillanes said some of these new witnesses approached him and his team, while others approached the Church.

"We've already rejected a couple...because while they may be telling the truth, there is a possibility that they can get by the other side, they can get swayed by the persuasions of the other side," he said.

Trillanes, a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, had been instrumental in the public confessions of Matobato and Lascañas, who both linked the chief executive to the killings supposedly carried out by the DDS.

DDS was allegedly founded in Davao City while Duterte was mayor.

Duterte has repeatedly denied links to the DDS, calling Lascañas' claims as "lies."

Matobato and Lascañas were also made to attend separate Senate hearings where they were placed under intense questioning. The lawmakers have since terminated their probe on the cases where Matobato and Lascañas were witnesses.

Trillanes, who also accused Duterte of having undeclared wealth, was bent on "exposing" the tough-talking leader's supposed crimes.

"I'm going to be very persistent, I'm going to expose what we need to expose just for the people to wake up and snap out of this dream that Duterte is the leader they want," he said.

"The Duterte I know is different from the Duterte they know," he added.