Confessed hitman Edgar Matobato was lying in his testimony before the Senate justice committee in an effort to discredit President Rodrigo Duterte, the Davao policeman tagged as leader of the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS) said Monday. “I’m sorry, baka mali ako, mahirap po, personal ko na lang po ito... Sa personal ko lang po, baka pulitika. Gusto niya siguro siraan yung President, si Duterte,” SPO3 Arturo Lascañas said.
Lascañas was among the 16 Davao-based policemen who appeared at the resumption of the Senate probe on drug-related killings. He was tagged by Matobato as the “team leader” of the DDS. Matobato also tagged Lascañas in the killing of suspected international terrorist Sali Makdum in 2002 and radio broadcaster Jun Pala in 2003.
Matobato also said Lascañas was the “right hand man” of Duterte, which the Davao policeman denied. In denying his close ties with Duterte, who ruled as Davao City mayor for many years, Lascañas said two of his brothers were killed by elements of the Davao City Police Office (DCPO) due to their links to illegal drugs. “My own brothers, napatay ng mga kasamahan ko sa DCPO. Kung malakas ako kay mayor, bakit hindi ko natulungan sila?” he said.
“Kung hindi ako pulis, mas natulungan ko sila,” he added. He said his eldest child also applied for a job before the city government but was rejected and was even “insulted.” Lascañas said he is now on “non-duty” status, and will be on leave until he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 56 in December.