A Palace official on Monday described as a "demolition job" the claims of a retired cop that he took orders from then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to carry out killings of drug suspects and opponents in Davao City as part of the Davao Death Squad.
In a statement, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the press conference of self-confessed hitman SPO3 Arthur Lascañas is "part of a protracted political drama aimed to destroy the President and to topple his administration."
"The demolition job against President Duterte continues," he noted.
"Bringing change is not an easy task. The Duterte administration has disturbed/disrupted the establishment. However, we remain undistracted in delivering goods and services to serve the people, not just the interest of the few."
Andanar said the people are aware that the claims are part of "vicious politics orchestrated by sectors affected by the reforms initiated by the Duterte administration."
He claimed the Commission on Human Rights, the Office of the Ombudsman, the Senate Committee on Justice have "already cleared the President of extrajudicial killing and his involvement in the Davao Death Squad."
In his statement, Lascañas claimed Duterte ordered him to kill criminals and drug suspects in connection with the anti-crime campaign in Davao City.
He said he was paid P20,000 - P50,000 per individual killed by the Davao Death Squad.
Self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato earlier described Lascañas as Duterte’s "right-hand man" and the most powerful cop in Davao City.
“Si Arthur Lascañas, para itong general, maski colonel nauutusan niya sa Davao City. Ito ang pinaka-powerful na pulis sa Davao. [Arthur Lascañas is like a general. He can even give orders to a colonel. He is the most powerful cop in Davao City.],” Matobato said during a Senate hearing last September 15.