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NBI probes DDS leader's crimes

JUSTICE Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Tuesday ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to look into the crimes confessed by retired Senior Police Officer 3 Arthur Lascañas when he was a leader of the Davao Death Squad.

He said he ordered the bureau to investigate Lascañas’s confessions to determine their veracity and his criminal liabilities.

“These [alleged crimes confessed by Lascañas] are being investigated and this is what most probably he is afraid of,” Aguirre said when sought to comment on Lascañas’ recent flight.

Senator Panfilo Lacson said he understood Lascañas predicament. 

Retired SPO3 Arturo Lascañas
“I am not blaming or criticizing his decision to leave the country,” Lacson said. 

He said anybody who felt persecuted and physically threatened was entitled to make a personal decision on self-preservation.

But Senator Antonio Trillanes IV was dismayed when Lacson questioned who spent for the Singapore trip and accommodation of Lascañas and his family. 

“Of all the people, it should be Senator Lacson who should understand my situation,” Trillanes said in a text message.

During the Senate inquiry last year on extrajudicial killings, Lascañas denied the claim of self-confessed DDS member Edgar Matobato about the existence of a death squad and the killings the group allegedly carried out on the orders of Rodrigo Duterte when he was mayor of Davao City.

But in his latest testimony he retracted and claimed that the death squad indeed existed. He confessed being part of the group and claimed that Duterte paid them as much as P100,000 for each drug suspect liquidated.

Lascañas also implicated Duterte’s son Paolo―now vice mayor of Davao City―in the killings.

Aguirre had said earlier that Lascañas could be held liable for perjury over his recantation.

He also said NBI probers should also look into on who was funding Lascañas, who left with his family for Singapore on April 8, and reportedly for “fear of lawsuits.”

“We could investigate [who’s behind him], but we should get help from others, especially Senator Lacson who’s an expert in gathering information like that,” Aguirre said.

 “The handlers of Lascañas are just scared because they could lose their remaining witness who has no credibility at all.” With Macon Ramos-Araneta

Topics: Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II , National Bureau of Investigation , NBI , Arthur Lascañas , Davao Death Squad , DDS
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