The Senate hearing today lasted almost six hours with retired Davao City cop and self-proclaimed Davao Death Squad (DDS) hitman Arturo Lascañas making new confessions that implicated President Rodrigo Duterte anew to the alleged vigilante group.
The Senate’s public order committee chaired by Senator Panfilo Lacson handled the hearing where Lascañas bared a lot of exposes. Here are some of today’s highlights:
1) Apology to Senate
Lascañas started the hearing by saying sorry to the Senate for lying last year during his October testimony where he had denied the existence of the DDS—Duterte’s alleged vigilante group that he now claims to be part of. He was forced to lie at the time and is now only seeking to reveal the truth to clean his conscience.
2) Lacson in no mood to waste time
Lacson clearly showed that he was not in the mood to play dumb after telling Lascañas to show other proof aside from his confessions that will pin down Duterte for his alleged involvement with the DDS and the extrajudicial killings in Davao City.
3) More individuals implicated
Lascañas went on to involve other people like Duterte’s son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, whom he claimed prevented the arrest of a Taiwanese drug suspect back in 2014. He added that the younger Duterte had once instructed them to locate the motorcycle rider he had had a traffic altercation with and “take care” of him. Lascañas said the DDS found and killed the said rider.
Aside from this, Lascañas claimed Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa, who was Davao City police chief back then, was aware of DDS operations.
4) Death count and reward per kill
According to Lascañas, he was a core member of the DDS and had killed around 200 people since 1989.
He said Duterte paid up to P100,000 to kill their targets including radio broadcaster Jun Pala and other drug suspects.
5) Pacquiao cites Lascañas for contempt
Senator Manny Pacquiao, a staunch supporter of Duterte, had had enough of Lascañas and proposed to cite him for contempt.
However, Pacquiao withdrew the proposal after fellow Senator Vicente Sotto talked him out of it. He then said that he was giving Lascañas a chance to explain himself.
The hearing ended with the Senate seeing no need to further continue the probe due to lack of solid evidence in Lascañas’s part. Lacson said it was up to the PNP to carry on with the investigation process.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo for his part said it was “out of character” for Duterte to allow the killing of a woman and tolerate extrajudicial killings.
Meanwhile, incarcerated Senator Leila de Lima opposed Panelo and said there was “no doubt” Lascañas’ testimony was proof that the President has a criminal mind with “mass murderer” tendencies.