MANILA — Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said Thursday he did not find the alleged former member of the vigilante group, Davao Death Squad to be a credible witness for the Senate inquiry into extrajudicial killings.
A certain Edgar Matobato, 57, claimed that then Mayor now President Rodrigo Duterte recruited him as a member of the Lambada Boys, which eventually became known as the DDS, tasked to kill criminals in Davao City from 1988 to 2013.
During a short break, Lacson told reporters that he could not understand why Matobato could not answer senators when asked to name the person who asked him to face the Senate.
“Why doesn’t he want to reveal who brought him here? In my book, he’s not a credible witness,” Lacson said in a mix of English and Filipino, noting that the witness seemed to be not as involved as he claimed to be.
“It seems like his involvement (in the DDS) is not as deep as he makes it, pretend(s) to be,” he added.
Lacson said the Senate has yet to verify if the witness was indeed telling the truth because it was too early to determine it.
He also pointed out that Matobato had a different “demeanor” when asked questions to test his credibility. He however said that it is possible that the witness knows the truth behind these revelations but exaggerated them to sound more dramatic.
The senator also said that if it were up to him, he would not get a witness like Matobato to testify since he could not verify the latter’s credibility.
“In looking for a witness, it should first be verified, allegations should be checked if there is semblance of truth. If there is none, he should not be presented as witness,” he added.
Matobato mentioned during the hearing that a certain Sali Makdum, a suspected terrorist, was killed by the DDS in 2002.
Lacson said that he tried to search in Google if there was at all a suspected terrorist named Sali Makdum, only to find that there was no information about the person at all.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Dir. Gen. Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, who was also present during the hearing, said that he did not know Matobato personally despite the latter saying that he knew the police chief.
The Senate inquiry into extrajudicial killings is ongoing. Azer Parrocha/PNA/northboundasia.com