MANILA - Self-confessed Davao Death Squad (DDS) hitman Edgar Matobato said a priest helped him contact Senator Leila de Lima, which led to his surprise appearance before the Senate Justice Committee.
According to Matobato, he left the Witness Protection Program (WPP) of the Department of Justice (DOJ) a few days before the May 2016 elections because he knew former Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte would win the presidency.
"Natatakot na ako, Ma'am, baka bunutin nila ako doon. Baka ako patayin, Ma'am. Alam ko naman na mananalo si Duterte, Ma'am kaya kailangan ko nang magpakalayo layo, Ma'am," he told De Lima during the Senate inquiry on extra-judicial killings.
[I feared for my life, Ma'am, they might take we away from WPP and kill me. I know Duterte will win (the presidency) so I need to go away.]
After leaving the WPP, Matobato transferred from one place to another, with the help of people he refused to identify.
"Hindi ko lang isasabi, Ma'am, dahil 'yung mga buhay nila, Ma'am. Hindi talaga Ma'am, kasi tinulungan nila ako. Kung ikaw naman Ma'am, ikaw ang nagtulong sa akin, ikaw naman ang ituturo ko Ma'am. So anong mangyayari sa buhay mo?" he said.
[I don't want to identify them, Ma'am, because I fear for their lives. They helped me, so I don't want to put them in trouble. If you were the one who helped me and I identified you, what will happen to you?]
Senator Richard Gordon, who replaced De Lima as chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, also grilled Matobato about how he was able to contact De Lima.
According to Matobato, it was his live-in partner who uses a cellphone for him, since he does not know how to use one.
Matobato insisted on not identifying the people who helped him since he left the WPP, but eventually admitted that a priest helped him contact De Lima.
"Isang pari, Sir," he told Gordon.
Matobato, likewise, confirmed that he met with De Lima early September, but denied that he was coached by the senator.
Matobato earlier accused Duterte of ordering the killing of suspected criminals in Davao City during his reign as mayor.