Sen. Trillanes: We trust cops won’t hurt Matobato

MANILA — Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV left the Senate Friday morning to personally send witness and self-confessed Davao Death Squad (DDS) hitman Edgar Matobato to the Philippine National Police (PNP) Headquarters in Camp Crame following the issuance of an arrest warrant for failure to attend his arraignment in the complaint for illegal possession of firearms.

Matobato’s counsel filed a motion Thursday morning explaining to the court that he was unable to fly to Davao because he was scheduled to appear in the Senate hearing on Tuesday (Oct. 4) although it was eventually cancelled.

Trillanes previously said that even without a copy of the warrant of arrest, he was willing to send Matobato to PNP to avoid “untoward incidents”.

He noted that he and Matobato will submit to process of posting for a bail, arraignment and try his best to bring the witness back to his custody.

“Remember bailable yung kaso niya so dadaanan lang ‘yung kailangang pagdaanan—pag-post ng bail, pag-arraign sa kanya then kukuhanin ko ulit siya, ‘yung custody, hindi natin siya papabayaan. Hopefully by Monday ma-resolve na lahat (Remember, his case is bailable so we will go through whatever needs to be done—posting for a bail, arraignment, then we will try to get him back. We won’t leave him alone. Hopefully by Monday, everything would be resolved),” Trillanes said.

Asked where Matobato would be detained, Trillanes said that it would be up to the PNP to determine where to accommodate the witness.

He meanwhile expressed hope that the police personnel will take care of Matobato while in their headquarters.

“Ite-turnover natin siya ng maayos and we expect him na ganun pa rin. Kung nawalan na tayo totally ng tiwala sa ating kapulisan then malaking problema ng ating bansa. Tayo pa naman ay may tiwala sa kapulisan na hindi nila sasaktan si Mr. Matobato (We will turn him over properly so we expect him to return the same. If we totally lose trust in our police then we have a big problem. We still trust in our police personnel that they won’t harm Mr. Matobato),” he added.

The Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, chaired by Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon, previously said that it will continue the inquiry into extrajudicial killings without Matobato.

Trillanes, however, said that he will do everything in his power as senator to get Matobato to testify again.

“Maraming paraan para mailabas ulit ang storya ni Mr. Matobato. Remember, lahat ng sinabi nya, mga pulis na minention nya umamin nga na kilala nya eh (There are many ways for us to get Matobato to tell his story. Remember, everything he said, the police he mentioned admitted that they knew him),” Trillanes said.

He previously said that he found the timing of Matobato’s arraignment suspicious. Matobato was earlier released by the court on bail, granting him provisional freedom as early as 2014.

“The timing is highly suspicious because this has been running for two years and suddenly they set for an arraignment on Tuesday when there was a scheduled hearing here also,” Trillanes said.

Matobato, for his part said that he was ready to face the cops despite fears they would get back at him for claiming some of them were members of the so-called vigilante group.

“Ako handa akong susuko ng pulis din… ‘yan lang ang masasabi ko, hindi ako magtatago (I am ready to surrender to the police, that’s all I can say. I won’t hide),” Matobato said.

“Hindi ako natatakot kasi hindi naman lahat ng pulis masasamang tao (I am not afraid because not all police are bad people),” he added. Azer Parrocha/