MANILA — Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV disclosed Friday that “good Samaritans” have provided temporary sanctuary for a self-confessed former assassin who has testified in the Senate inquiry into alleged drug-related extrajudicial killings.
Trillanes made the revelation after expressing disappointment over the decision of Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel to deny the request of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights for the custody of alleged ex-Davao Death Squad (DDS) hitman, Edgar Matobato.
“I am very disappointed with the decision of Senate President Pimentel,” he said, noting that Pimentel does not even have the power to overrule a ruling by any Senate committee.
The senator called Pimentel’s decision “heartless and reeks of political maneuvering” to cover for President Rodrigo Duterte, whom Matobato said ordered the killing of political enemies and other non-criminals, among others when he was still mayor of Davao City.
Trillanes, during the Senate committee’s hearing on Thursday, requested that the witness be placed under legislative immunity.
Committee Chair, Senator Leila de Lima, explained that Matobato should be provided custody since he had accused the most powerful man in the country.
She said that considering that it is the President who is being accused by the witness, circumstances leave no doubt that Matobato’s security and custody cannot be left to any agency of the Executive Branch.
The neophyte senator further said that the witness might be able to provide additional information to establish a pattern between the operations of the DDS in Davao City and the ongoing anti-illegal drug campaign.
Matobato, 57, on Thursday claimed that the then mayor Duterte recruited him as a member of the Lambada Boys, which eventually came to be known as the DDS, tasked to kill criminals in Davao City from 1988 to 2013.
Matobato recalled how the group was ordered by Duterte himself to kill bodyguards of then mayoral candidate Prospero Nograles who ran against his daughter, Sara Duterte in 2010; a certain Richard King who was a rival of his son, incumbent Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte over a woman; radio reporter and critic of Duterte, Jun Pala; and an unnamed fixer who worked at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) among others. Azer Parrocha/PNA/northboundasia.com