Senate panel ends Lascañas probe after one hearing

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 06 2017 08:22 PM | Updated as of Mar 06 2017 09:40 PM

Retired policeman SPO3 Arthur Lascañas. Joseph Vidal, PRIB, NPPA Images

MANILA – After just one hearing, the Senate committee on public order on Monday ended its probe into the claims of self-confessed Davao Death Squad (DDS) hitman Arthur Lascañas, amid questions on the latter's credibility.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, chair of the committee, said the panel decided to terminate the probe since it saw no point in continuing it.

"We adjourned it. Kasi wala na kaming makitang punto na ipu-pursue eh," Lacson said.

(We adjourned it. Because we saw nothing to pursue.)

Lacson said, even Lascañas admitted that even he would be confused by his flip-flopping statements about the existence of the death squad.

“Ang nag-deliver ng coup de grâce (final blow) si Senator [Manny] Pacquiao. Kasi sabi niya, kung nagpalit tayo ng posisyon, ikaw ang imbestigador at ako ang may dalawang testimonya na magkabangga, ano ang magiging konklusyon mo?” Lacson said.

(Senator Manny Pacquiao delivered the coup de grâce. He asked Lascañas, 'If we exchange shoes, you are the investigator and I'm the one who has conflicting statements, what would be your conclusion?')

“Maliwanag ang sagot ni Lascañas, ‘magdududa’ siya. So, hindi niya masisisi ang mga senador na nagdududa lahat, hindi ba?”

(Lascañas' answer was clear: He would raise doubts. So he cannot blame someone doubting his testimonies, right?)

Prior to today's testimony, where he detailed the alleged involvement of longtime Davao City Mayor and now President Rodrigo Duterte in extrajudicial killings in the city, Lascañas had denied the existence of the death squad.

In defending his flip-flopping, Lascañas said he was not ready at that time to reveal what he knew out of fear for his safety and his family's.

DUTERTE SIS' DI

Lacson also said that a dance instructor (DI) of President Rodrigo Duterte’s sister, Jocelyn, was reported to be still alive, contrary to the claims of Lascañas and another self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato that they killed him.

“May impormasyon na yung DI na sinabi nila pinatay nila, buhay na buhay,” Lacson said.

“Halimbawa, makaharap niyo ang sinasabing pinatay niyo? Ano ang gagawin mo, papalitan mo na naman ang statement mo dahil buhay pala?”

Lascañas on Monday supported the claim of self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato that the two of them were part of the team that abducted and killed the victim, who was reportedly the lover of President Duterte's sister.

Jocelyn herself has denied Matobato’s claim, saying "all her dance instructor friends are still alive and well."