Pacquiao withdraws motion to cite Lascañas in contempt

MANILA — Sen. Manny Pacquiao on Monday motioned to cite retired cop Arturo Lascañas in contempt but withdrew it later on.

Pacquiao made the motion after stating that he believed Lascañas’ first testimony in October 2016 denying the so-called vigilante group Davao Death Squad (DDS) more than his new testimony confirming the same last Feb. 20, 2017.

The neophyte senator said he found Lascañas first testimony “more believable” because none of the Senators assumed he was lying then.

He motioned to cite Lascañas in contempt after interrogating him. However, Senators Risa Hontiveros and Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III objected his motion.

This led Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, which is conducting the hearing to call for a suspension.

After speaking to Sotto, Pacquiao decided to withdraw his motion to give Lascañas “another chance.”

Lascanas told Pacquiao that he is “not being used” by anyone and decided to retract his first testimony willingly.

Grilled earlier by Sen. Grace Poe, Lascañas claimed that he has killed over 200 people as head of the so-called Davao Death Squad.

Lascañas made this disclosure after Poe asked him how many people he has killed.

“Kung sa akin po, sabihin nalang natin na, your honor, is 200 plus. Sa personal ko lang na estimate. Mga 300 more or less (If it’s only me, it’s 200 plus. This is based on my personal estimate. More or less 300),” Lascañas told Poe.

He said that this number already included people killed outside the death squad operations or as he started his police service in 1982.

“Bigyan mo kami ng iilang pangalan na sa tingin mo ay magiging corroborating witness ninyo (Give us names of people who think can be your corroborating witness),” Poe said.

Poe then asked Lascañas to name people who could support his testimony noting that the Senate could only believe Lascañas testimony if backed by solid proof.

Lascañas named self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato who was first to claim the existence of a death squad, his colleagues SPO4 Dick Cloribel and SPO3 Teodoro Paguidopon.

Poe said that she will ask Lascañas’ lawyers to give the Senate copies of the names of these witnesses who could support his testimony.

“Lahat po ng mga pangalan na iyan siyempre hihingin namin sa inyong mga abugado para naman mas mapalakas ang sinasabi ninyo. Sa ngayon wala pang nagpapakita para patunayan ang sinasabi ninyo (We will ask your lawyers to give us copies of their names to strengthen your testimony. At present, there is nothing to prove that what you are saying is true),” Poe said. Azer Parrocha/