Lacson finds inconsistency in Lascañas’ testimony

MANILA — Sen. Panfilo Lacson found an inconsistency in the testimony of former cop SPO3 Arturo Lascañas in a Senate inquiry on Monday.

Lascañas claimed that so-called vigilante group Davao Death Squad (DDS), which allegedly killed criminals and non-criminals in Davao City, was real.

Lascañas was discussing the death squad’s killing of a so-called “Mr. Patasaja,” who was allegedly involved in the kidnapping of the wife of a prominent Davao City banker Dante Abaca, when Lacson cut him short.

Lacson heads the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs which is tasked to conduct the hearing on Lascañas’ testimony.

Lacson said that Lascañas, in an earlier press conference, claimed that he saw Mr. Patasaja and his entire family killed in their home. However, in his affidavit, he said he only heard gunshots.

“Alin ang totoo sa dalawa (Which is true among your two statements)?” Lacson asked.

Lascañas said he was outside the Patasaja home but merely “considered” seeing it happen. Lacson shrugged this off and let him continue his testimony.

Waste of time

Before Lascañas delivered his testimony, Lacson, in his opening statement expressed hope that Lascañas will be able to present enough “evidence” to support his allegations or otherwise just be “wasting time.”

Lacson, however, said that he will still allow what Lascañas has to say noting that the Senate panel is not a court of law that will render judgement on the guilt or innocence of certain individuals.

Lascañas began his testimony by apologizing to the Senate for previously denying the existence of the death squad during the Senate inquiry into extrajudicial killings last October 2016.

He said that he was also ordered by his colleague, SPO4 Sonny Buenaventura, to deny everything said by self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato who was the first to claim the existence of the death squad.

The former cop also said that he previously lied because he feared for the life of his family but is now determined to tell the truth to clear his conscience.

In a statement, detained Sen. Leila de Lima said that she had no doubt that Lascañas testimony will be “crucial in ferreting out the truth” about the death squad.

De Lima said that it is expected to corroborate those already revealed by self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato. To recall, De Lima first presented Matobato in a Senate inquiry when she was then chair of the Senate Committee on Justice.

Aside from Lacson, also present in the hearing are Senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Alan Peter Cayetano, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Risa Hontiveros, Manny Pacquiao and Francis Pangilinan.

The hearing is ongoing as of posting time.