Davao Hit Man Says Hundreds Were Killed

Davao Hit Man Says Hundreds Were Killed

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The Senate will open an inquiry into the confession of retired SPO3 Arthur Lascañas that he served as hit man for a death squad under the control and pay of President Duterte when the Chief Executive was mayor of Davao City.
 
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, head of the committee on public order and dangerous drugs, said on Tuesday that a date for the inquiry would be set next week.

Lascañas’ lawyer Alex Padilla said the former policeman had spoken about “hundreds of killings” by the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS).

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Sen. Panfilo Lacson Photo by ALEXIS CORPUZ/Philippine Daily Inquirer,


In a news conference in the Senate on Monday, Lascañas said the DDS was real and that Mr. Duterte, when he was mayor of Davao, ordered and paid him and other hit men to kill criminals and opponents, including a kidnapping suspect, his family and radio commentator Juan Pala Jr.

“If you are listening [to his narration], he is talking about hundreds of killings,” Padilla, of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), said on Tuesday.
 

Detailed in affidavit

He said the killings that Lascañas mentioned during the news conference on Monday were detailed in an affidavit that he was executing and that Lascañas was likely to execute another affidavit to detail other killings.

“Some [of the killings] are not as detailed as others,” Padilla said, explaining that this was understandable given the passage of time.

He said the killings that Lascañas mentioned during the news conference on Monday were detailed in an affidavit that he was executing and that Lascañas was likely to execute another affidavit to detail other killings.

“Some [of the killings] are not as detailed as others,” Padilla said, explaining that this was understandable given the passage of time.

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III called a caucus during the start of Tuesday’s session but when the senators returned, Pimentel adjourned the session and, like the other senators, kept quiet about what happened during the closed meeting.

All Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon could tell reporters was that the Senate referral to Lacson’s committee “stands.”

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Senate sources explained to the Inquirer what happened during the caucus, saying Sen. Richard Gordon opposed an inquiry and that if there should be an inquiry it should be his justice committee that should conduct it, since it investigated the Davao killings last year.

The sources said a senator brought a motion for a vote on an inquiry. Ten senators voted for an inquiry, while seven voted against it.

Those who voted for an inquiry were Senators Bam Aquino, Leila de Lima, Drilon, Francis Escudero, Risa Hontiveros, Francis Pangilinan, Antonio Trillanes IV, Ralph Recto, Sonny Angara and Joel Villanueva.

Among the seven who voted against an inquiry were Senators Gordon, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Emmanuel Pacquiao, Cynthia Villar, Sherwin Gatchalian and Gregorio Honasan.


 Not present in the caucus were Senators Grace Poe and Alan Peter Cayetano.

Lacson, Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Senators Loren Legarda, Nancy Binay and JV Ejercito abstained.

Saying he was ending his “blind obedience and loyalty” to Mr. Duterte, Lascañas said on Monday he was one of the leaders of DDS that was under the control and pay of the mayor and they killed many people, including Pala and a suspected drug lord and his entire family.

The retired policeman also confessed to having his two brothers who were involved in the illegal drug trade killed because he believed so much in the mayor’s drug campaign, a decision that he said he regretted.

The Senate referred Lascañas’ confession to Lacson’s committee on Monday.

First Hearing 


Before the caucus on Tuesday, Lacson said he would set the first hearing next week and the panel would make sure it would get the former police officer’s sworn statement and affidavit.

Among those he planned to call to the hearing were the former chief of police of Davao City and Mr. Duterte’s former aide, SPO4 Sonny Buenaventura, whom Lascañas claimed told him to get a P1-million bonus from the mayor for the killing of Pala on Sept. 6, 2003.

Lacson said it was not only Trillanes who called for an inquiry, but also other senators.

Among those were Poe, Hontiveros and Aquino who urged the Senate to listen to what Lascañas had to say.

Poe told reporters she wanted to find out why Lascañas, who testified to the Senate justice committee last year that the DDS did not exist, turned around.

“The Senate should show it’s impartial and transparent … and then there we can see if Lascañas was telling the truth,” Aquino told reporters.

Hontiveros said the Senate “must respond to the public clamor for truth and accountability.”

 
 

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