NOGRALES SON BELIES WITNESS' CLAIMS
MANILA - A self-confessed assassin on Thursday claimed that President Rodrigo Duterte ordered in 2010 the killing of four bodyguards of former House Speaker Prospero Nograles, Duterte's erstwhile political rival.
Edgar Matobato, who claimed being a member of the alleged Davao Death Squad (DDS), said Duterte ordered the assassination when Nograles challenged him in the 2010 mayoral race of Davao City.
Matobato said he personally saw Duterte giving the order to SPO4 Arthur Lascañas, an alleged leader of the DDS.
"Si Mayor Duterte po, siya man ang nag-utos kay Arthur Lascañas. Andoon man kami, dala-dala, bitbit man ako miski saan kasi katiwala rin ako noon," he said. [It was Mayor Duterte, he was the one who instructed Arthur Lascañas. We were there, I was always with them because I was also a confidante.]
Asked to clarify the "Mayor Duterte" he was referring to, Matoboto replied: "ang ating mahal na Pangulo ngayon [our current President]."
Matobato said they brought and killed the victims in Samal City and dumped the bodies off the sea.
"Inisa-isa namin ibinigti, nilagyan ang katawan ng hollow block tapos biniyak ang tiyan tapos itinapon namin sa laot," he said. [We hung them one by one, put hollow blocks inside on their bodies, opened up their stomachs and threw them off the sea.]
These allegations were however denied by Davao City Representative Karlo Alexei Nograles who also served as the chief-of-staff former House Speaker Prospero Nograles.
"From the time I was chief-of-staff of former Speaker Prospero C. Nograles to the time I was elected as congressman, no supporter of ours or persons under our employ was ever killed due to politics," Nograles said in a statement.
Nograles said he suspects that Matubato "is being manipulated by some people to only serve their own selfish interests."
Nograles made no mention of who he suspects is backing Matubato.
The elder Nograles had expressed support for Duterte in the May elections, ending their three-decade political rivalry.
The elder Nograles' wife, Rhodora Bendigo, is a relative of Duterte.