DOJ OKs filing of kidnapping raps vs Matobato

MANILA – The Department of Justice (DOJ) has approved the filing of kidnapping charges against Edgar Matobato, who claimed to be a member of the Davao Death Squad (DDS), for the abduction of suspected terrorist Sali Makdum in Davao del Norte last November 2000

In a resolution dated Dec. 22, 2016 but was released to media on Friday, City Prosecutor Joseph M. Apao of the Island Garden City of Samal, Davao del Norte found probable cause for kidnapping against Matobato and Sonny Custodio allegedly committed against Salih Muck Doom.

The case stemmed from a complaint of Mirasol Marquez, live-in partner of Makdum, who was abducted on Nov. 9, 2000.

No bail was recommended for their temporary liberty.

Makdum’s name was mentioned by Matobato at a Senate hearing where he said that Makdum was taken by authorities and presented to then-Davao police Chief, now Philippine National Police (PNP) head Ronald dela Rosa.

Aside from facing kidnapping charges, frustrated murder charges was also approved by DoJ against Matobato, over his failed attempt to kill a Department of Agriculture (DA) adjudicator in Digos City, Davao del Sur last October 2014.

The Digos City prosecutor’s office found probable cause on the frustrated murder complaint filed by Abeto Salcedo Jr. against Matobato.

Preliminary investigation by prosecutors showed that the incident took place in October 2014 when Salcedo was about to leave his office in Digos City when Matobato shot him. However, he managed to survive the attack.

Last October, the 57-year-old self-confessed hitman appeared before the Senate’s Committee on Justice and Human Rights inquiry on the series of extrajudicial killings in the country mostly involving alleged drug pushers and users.

In his testimony, Matobato tagged President Rodrigo Duterte as the mastermind behind the DDS, a group that is allegedly comprised of policemen from the Davao City Police who pose as hired assassins tasked by Duterte to kill criminals in Davao as a strategy of crime control.

Matobato claimed that then Mayor and now President Duterte recruited him as a member of the DDS and ordered the group to kill criminals and political opponents in Davao City from 1998 to 2013.

The Palace has denied Matobato’s allegations, which have not been backed by supporting evidence so far. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan/