The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Tuesday defended the premature departure of self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato from Senate premises during Monday's hearing on drug-related killings. In a phone interview on "News To Go," CHR commissioner Roberto Cadiz said it was wrong for Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, to insinuate that "Matobato is trying to escape the Senate."
"The insinuation given by Gordon is Matobato is trying to escape the Senate. Matobato was there as early as 7 a.m. and he stayed up to past 7 p.m. and it was not his decision to leave but it was Sen. [Antonio] Trillanes [IV] who decided to bring him out because he is concerned with his security," Cadiz said. The departure of Matobato, who linked President Rodrigo Duterte to a number of extrajudicial killings in Davao City in the past, irked Gordon and Senator Panfilo Lacson, vice chairman of the committee. Both accused Matobato of trying to deceive the Senate.
"I don’t know why nagalit si Senator Gordon," Cadiz said of Gordon's outburst. "Bakit nila biglang tinerminate kagabi ang hearing on the argument that Matobato is not credible?" "Ang dami pang witnesses willing to testify, our witnesses are there ready at that time. They want to go home but hindi ibig sabihin nun tinatakas namin ang witnesses, eh di sana hindi na namin dinala sa Senado," he added.
Cadiz said Trillanes had asked Gordon to allow Matobato to testify early on Monday, and had offered to bring Matobato again to the Senate hearing on Tuesday. Among those who attended Monday's hearing were retired and active policemen whom Matobato said were members of the so-called Davao Death Squad.