Senator Leila de Lima on Thursday described President Rodrigo Duterte as a "murderer" and the "father" of the extra-judicial killings in the country.
In a statement, De Lima quoted Duterte in his speech Wednesday afternoon as saying "Hindi ko pababayaan ang mga pulis na ito dahil ako ang may utos," referring to the cops in the "rubout" where Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa was killed.
"That is an admission that he is the mastermind of such extra-judicial killing (EJK)," said De Lima.
"Together with Edgar Matobato's testimony on the Davao Death Squad (DDS), Duterte's admission seals his fate as the Father of all EJKs, first in Davao City, now throughout the entire Philippines, with the number of his victims now beyond the five thousand mark, and still rising," she added.
Self-confessed hitman Matobato first appeared publicly in a Senate inquiry in September, tagging Duterte in hundreds of murders of alleged criminals and political foes.
Months later, Espinosa was killed in a sub-provincial jail in Leyte while being served a search warrant by P/Supt. Marvin Marcos and members of the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Region 8.
For De Lima, adding the two shows that Marcos and the CIDG team are now part of the "expanded DDS" operating in a national scope.
"Nothing can be clearer than that. What we now have is a Presidential Death Squad," said De Lima.
She also slammed the Senate Committee on Justice's report which found no proof of extrajudicial killings and dismissed the existence of DDS, saying she was not allowed to read and sign the changes in it before it was released.
De Lima added, after the statement by Duterte, his involvement in the extrajudicial killings or in Espinosa's death may no longer be dismissed.
"There is no more basis to dismiss Matobato's testimony or to clear the President of his role in the EJKs. I think this also puts to a close the Senate investigation on who ordered the killing of Mayor Espinosa," she said.
"Now we all know that the order and command to murder Espinosa in cold blood came from none other than the President himself."
"People of the Philippines, your President is a murderer," she added.
In concluding her statement, De Lima asked for prayers for Duterte in time for Christmas.
"Let us pray that our President finally sees the light and puts a stop to all the killings in time for Christmas. Let us pray that our President starts fearing God and respecting the gift of life in this season of love and hope."