MANILA—Presidential aspirant Sen. Ping Lacson on Tuesday maintained he was not involved in torture during the martial law years, debunking a claim made by author Alfred McCoy.
Speaking on ANC's "Dateline," Lacson said he was merely a second lieutenant then, fresh from the Philippine Military Academy, when martial law was declared in 1972.
He said he was involved with the Philippine Constabulary’s intelligence branch addressing crimes such as kidnapping, robbery, and drug and was not involved in the security branch.
While he said he was hearing stories about torture then, he was not in the position to investigate.
“Nasaan ang torture na nakita ko? Was I present when somebody was being tortured… We were hearing stories of torture. But was it that for me to investigate? There’s another unit in the AFP at that time, in the PC at that time na dapat mag-imbestiga noon. I was just a first lieutenant," he said.
"Kung chief PNP ako noon, chief PC ako noon, mayroon akong magagawa kung mayroong na-torture o kung ako iyong Metrocom commander, I wouldn’t allow it. I will investigate. But I was just a second, first lieutenant, even captain,” he added.
Lacson also clarified his remarks about martial law, saying it was only good for the first 6 months when Filipinos became disciplined and when there was “zero crime” but said that abuses took place after.
Lacson said he was assistant intelligence officer in Metrocom at that time.
“Talagang tahimik. Nawala iyong mga istambay sa mga kalsada. Tumino ang mga Pilipino," he said.
"After 6 months nakita ko na, nag-deteriorate. Kasi pumasok na iyong abuso, kasi binigyan ng kapangyarihan, authority, almost iyong mga generals. Basta na lang ize-zerox ang ASO, arrest, search and seizure order, zi-zerox na lang tapos sine-serve, at minsan ginagamit na weapon pang-extort."
"So, sumama nang sumama. Alam mo kung na-maintain lang iyong first 6 months of martial law, ideal sana, kasi dahil disiplinado mga Pilipino e,” he added.
Meantime, Lacson said that as Chief PNP, he did not receive reports about the Davao Death Squad killings rampant during the time of Rodrigo Duterte when he was Davao City mayor.
Lacson said he was busy cleansing the PNP of kotong cops and scalawags in the police force.