Senate keeps Matobato on hold

MANILA — As the Senate inquiry into extrajudicial killings is set to resume next week, Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon on Tuesday said that witness and alleged hitman of the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS) Edgar Matobato has been kept on hold.

“I kept him on hold…I respect our colleagues here. Even if I think he is a bad witness, I’m keeping him on hold just in case a police will come up with something,” Gordon told reporters in an interview.

Gordon, Chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, was among the senators who found Matobato’s testimonies on the alleged killings in Davao City to have inconsistencies.

He also called out Matobato for looking at direction of Senator Leila De Lima, and Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV while he was being questioned.

Gordon, meanwhile denied that the inquiry, which was initially set on Sept. 28 (Wednesday) but was moved to Oct 3 (Monday), was postponed in deference to President Rodrigo Duterte’s scheduled visit to Vietnam.

He said that a postponement was decided because the police officers who were allegedly members of the DDS invited to attend the hearing, were not informed.

Asked if he intended the hearing to be completed on its fifth resumption, Gordon said yes.

He meanwhile expressed hope that the hearing would present opportunities for the Philippine National Police (PNP) to improve handling of its anti-illegal drug operation encounters.

”There should be an improvement on how you handle encounters like that. Make sure that if there are unsolved killings brought about by people who don’t know…the police chief there should be answerable for so many killings,” Gordon said. Azer Parrocha/