Aguirre admits serving as ex-counsel for owner of alleged DDS ‘burial site’

MANILA — Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Monday admitted that he served as the counsel of Bienvenido Laud, the owner of Laud Quarry in Davao City which was reported as the burying site of the alleged victims of the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS).

However, Aguirre said that former Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chair and now Senator Leila de Lima who led the probe on the DDS did not got any piece of evidence from the site, citing that the bones which were dug there are possibly from animals.

”Totoo po yan. Actually, palagi ko sinasabi yun sa interview ko. Totoong abugado ako ni Bienvenido Laud. Pero walang napruwebahan ang CHR, walang napruwebahan ang DOJ na ang nakalibing doon ay talagang biktima ng DDS. As a matter of fact, lumalabas nga doon na parang buto ng mga animals ang mga nahukay doon, hindi naman tao ang mga nahukay doon,” Aguirre told reporters.

He also pointed out that if De Lima, who was also a former Justice Secretary, was aware of the purported extrajudicial killings by the so-called Davao Death Squad, she should have filed raps against the President who was then Davao City mayor.

When asked if they were dead bodies buried in the Laud quarry, Aguirre said “Meron. Pero panahon naman ni De lima, siya ang CHR commissioner, kung merong ebidensya si CHR chairperson De Lima noon dapat nagdemanda sila. Pero walang naidemanda, kahit isa kahit katiting walang naidemanda.”

He also explained the Laud Quarry served as a graveyard during the Japanese era.

”Kaya yun daw ang libingan ng mga guerillas noong panahon ng mga Hapon kaya hindi nakapagtataka na may mga nahukay na mga buto doon. Pero yung mga nahukay na mga buto doon hindi nila mapatunayan kung buto ng tao o hayop,” he noted.

Aguirre said that SP03 Arturo Lascañas testimony on the so-called vigilante group DDS during the Senate inquiry should be dismissed.

”Hindi na dapat paniwalaan yung ganun. Kung ako lang mag-cross examine doon,” he said.