MANILA — In a sudden turn of events, Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV on Thursday said that he will be turning over witness and self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato to the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday morning (Oct. 7) even without a warrant of arrest.
“With or without the warrant, we will bring him (Matobato) to Crame,” Trillanes said referring to Camp Crame, the PNP Headquarters in Quezon City.
He said Matobato would be brought there at 10 a.m. Friday.
Trillanes previously said that he would only turnover Matobato as soon as he got the arrest order from the PNP, however, he changed him mind to assure that the witness’ safety was not compromised.
He explained that the turnover was to assure the PNP that Matobato was “not going to run.”
“The longer I have him under my custody, they (the police) might suspect that I won’t turn him over),” Trillanes said.
“What we don’t want to happen is before he rides plane they will capture him. So we better do it here so there is no untoward incident,” he added.
He meanwhile expressed hope that the PNP would provide Matobato with the security he deserved.
“This is the best opportunity for PNP to display professionalism, fairness and a sense of justice,” the senator said.
To recall, a Davao City trial court ordered a bench arrest warrant of Matobato for his failure to attend his arraignment in the complaint for illegal possession of firearms filed in 2014.
Trillanes currently holds custody of Matobato.
Matobato’s lawyer has already filed an urgent motion for reconsideration to set aside his arrest order.
In his motion, Matobato explained to the court that he was unable to fly to Davao because he was scheduled to appear in the Senate hearing on Tuesday (Oct 4) although it was eventually cancelled.
However, Trillanes decided to turnover Matobato even without the arrest order.
He said that he found the timing of Matobato’s arraignment suspicious. Matobato was earlier released by the court on bail, granting him provisional freedom as early as 2014.
”The timing is highly suspicious because this has been running for two years and suddenly they set for an arraignment on Tuesday when there was a scheduled hearing here also,” Trillanes said.
He also said that he was willing to hold custody of Matobato even if the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights no longer needed him to testify. Azer Parrocha/PNA-northboundasia.com