By Bea Cupin
Confessed ‘DDS’ hitman faces Senate probe anew
MANILA, Philippines – After a lengthy discussion, self-confessed “Davao Death Squad” hitman Edgar Matobato was allowed to testify during the Senate committee on justice and human rights’ fourth hearing into the apparent rise of deaths linked to President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war on drugs.”
Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed former hitman, speaks during a Senate hearing Thursday, September 15, 2016, on drug-related extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.
On Thursday, September 22, Matobato faced the Senate plenary once again, to testify on the existence of the supposed vigilante group in the city and Duterte’s alleged ties to the group.
The Thursday hearing is the first since Senator Leila de Lima was ousted from her post as committee chairperson, days after Matobato was first brought in to testify. Matobato was a surprise witness on September 15, during the third committee hearing.
De Lima was ousted as chairperson supposedly because she was “biased” and prejudiced in heading the hearing. De Lima is among Duterte’s most vocal critics in government.
In a discussion at the Senate session, De Lima explained that “someone” called her in August this year to say that Matobato, who was once part of the government’s Witness Protection Program (WPP), wanted to surface and go public with his supposed knowledge on the death squad.
Matobato said he fled Davao City late 2014, supposedly because the DDS wanted him killed. The self-confessed hitman said he was wrongfully tagged as the killer of Cebuano businessman Richard King. He claimed he was tortured by his former colleagues in Davao City.
Matobato said he eventually went to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) before he was eventually admitted to the WPP. He left the WPP in May 2016, however, days before the May 9 presidential elections.
Duterte and his son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, have dismissed Matobato’s claims against them. (READ: TIMELINE: Witness lists killings allegedly ‘ordered by Duterte’) – Rappler.com
Professed Hit Man Tempers Claims of Rodrigo Duterte’s Role in Philippine Killings
MANILA — A professed hit man who implicated President Rodrigo Duterteof the Philippines in extrajudicial killings backed off some of his earlier assertions of the president’s involvement under tough questioning from a Senate committee on Thursday.
But the self-described hit man, Edgar Matobato, who said he killed about 50 people as a member of a death squad in Davao City, was unshaken in his testimony that Mr. Duterte, as mayor there, presided over about 1,000 killings of criminal suspects and political opponents over more than two decades.
The televised hearing appeared to be part of an effort by Duterte supporters to discredit testimony that Mr. Matobato gave the committee last week, as well as to impeach the credibility of the former leader of that committee, Senator Leila de Lima.
Tags: antidrug campaign, corruption, De Lima, Duterte, Edgar Matobato, extrajudicial killings, Matobato, Paolo Duterte, Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte, Richard Gordon, Senator Leila De Lima, Summary executions, vigilantes, war on drugs, Witness Protection Program