Pimentel rejects Senate sanctuary for Matobato

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 15 2016 09:28 PM | Updated as of Sep 15 2016 11:26 PM

Trillanes: Pimentel's decision was heartless

MANILA - (UPDATE) Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed member of the Davao Death Squad (DDS), left the Senate Thursday night after Senate President Koko Pimentel refused to provide him sanctuary.

In a text message, Pimentel said he denied Matobato's request for protective custody because there is no Senate rule to justify it.

"There's even no showing that his life or safety is threatened. Worse, the witness' testimony is not even relevant to the resolution being investigated," he added.

Matobato was seen leaving the office of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms before 8 p.m.

Some senators had recommended placing Matobato under protection and custody of the Senate. He left the Department of Justice (DOJ) Witness Protection Program (WPP) before President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, who suggested placing Matobato under Senate custody, said Pimentel's decision was "heartless." Pimentel's decision left Matobato on his own.

Trillanes and Senator Leila de Lima went to see Matobato before he left the Senate. The two senators said despite not being under Senate custody, they will extend help to Matobato.

Matobato testified on Thursday in the Senate Justice and Human Rights Committee's inquiry on drug-related killings. He accused Duterte of ordering the killings of people in Davao City during his reign as mayor.

Matobato, a former Army militiaman, told a Senate hearing that he was recruited to a hit squad called the "Lambada Boys" alongside five others in 1988, when Duterte started his first term.

READ: Self-confessed death squad member tags Duterte in killings