NBI hunts self-confessed hitman Matobato

DAVAO CITY — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) regional office here has launched a manhunt for Edgar Matobato after the self-confessed Davao Death Squad (DDS) hitman has gone into hiding.

NBI-XI director Arnold Rosales said Wednesday they are tracking Matobato in places where he could be possibly hiding. He said a team was even sent to Pangasinan to arrest him after they were tipped off by the intelligence community that he was hiding there.

Rosales said they even coordinated with the Office of Senator Antonio Trillanes to facilitate the surrender of Matobato, after they were informed that the latter was under the custody of the senator.

But after several calls, the office of Senator Trillanes refused to coordinate with the NBI, which already formed a Task Force to look for Matobato, Rosales told the AFP-PNP Press Corps at the Royal Mandaya Hotel.

A hold departure order was already issued against Matobato, who is facing three cases on illegal possession of firearms filed by the Philippine National Police (PNP) on June 20, 2014, the frustrated murder of former Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudicator Abeto Salcedo in 2014 and the kidnap-for-ransom of Sali Makdom in 2000.

Matobato, along with Sonny Custodion, is being hunted by authorities for the kidnapping of Makdom, which is a non-bailable offense. Matobato has posted a bail for his two other cases.

It may be recalled that during the Senate hearing on extra-judicial killings last year, Matobato claimed he kidnapped Makdom on orders of then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

The kidnapping case was first filed by Mirasol Marquez, Makdom’s common-law wife, on November 17, 2000 in Davao City but this was dismissed by the court on May 30, 2001 for lack of jurisdiction.

The case was re-filed by the NBI on December 22, 2016 at the Island Garden City of Samal, where a court eventually issued a warrant for the arrest of Matobato. Lilian Mellejor/PNA-northboundasia.com