Jefferson Antiporda – Manilatimes
SENATOR Panfilo Lacson believes that people handling former police officer Arturo Lascañas, including Sen. Antonio Trillanes 4th, are trying to destabilize the Duterte administration.
Lacson, who chairs the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drug, on Sunday said that he sees no other reason why handlers of Lascañas, a self-confessed member of the so-called Davao death squad (DDS), have to go around to have the latter interviewed by different media outfits.
“I wasn’t born yesterday for me not to be able to read their moves. Obviously there is an effort to destabilize the government using Lascañas,” Lacson said in a radio interview.
The senator noted that Trillanes admitted last week that the hearing is for the benefit not only of the Senate but also of the people outside the chamber.
While Trillanes did not mention the particular audience they are targetting, Lacson said it is obvious that the former was referring not only to Filipinos but also to the international bodies like the Human Rights Watch, a group that is critical of the Duterte administration.
Lacson also took notice of the unusual presence of foreign media every time the Senate conducts inquiry into issues concerning extra-judicial killing (EJKs), DDS, and the anti-illegal drug operation of the government.
He added that there is really an effort to have these issues covered by foreign media because those who want to destabilize the administration want to have a bigger audience.
“Obviously there’s an effort to bring these issues out to the international community through the foreign media,” Lacson added.
The senator pointed out that there are other venues where Lascañas can take his case such as the Commission on Human Rights and International Criminal Court, although there is no assurance that the latter will listen to the former police officer’s allegations.
Lascañas had claimed that President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the killing of criminals and other people when he was the mayor of Davao City. He said that he and members of the DDS were paid by Duterte every time they completed their mission.
During a Senate public order committee hearing last week, Lascañas said confessed assassin Edgar Matobato was telling the truth about the existence of the DDS.
Lascañas also admitted that he lied under oath last year when he denied the existence of the DDS as well as Duterte’s involvement in the killing of suspected criminals.
Lacson has terminated the hearing on Lascañas’ allegations about the existence of DDS but Trillanes had asked the committee to consider reopening the inquiry because he has other witnesses to present.
Lascañas had claimed that four of his former colleagues in the DDS have signified their intention to come out and testify.
But Lacson said he has no intention to reopen the inquiry unless it is approved by the majority.