FORMER speaker Prospero Nograles on Thursday denied claims by confessed Davao Death Squad member Edgar Matobato that four of his bodyguards had been summarily executed by vigilantes in Davao City.
“As far as I know, there’s not a single incident in which any of my staff or security personnel who were assigned to me while I was still in politics was killed, even when I ran for mayor in 2010. They are all still alive,” he said in a statement.
Nograles added that Matobato could have asked for his protection while he was still speaker but he did not.
Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles, the former speaker’s son, said he does not know anything about Matobato’s revelations before the Senate inquiry on extrajudicial killings.
“I don’t know what this guy is talking about. From the time I was chief-of-staff to the time I was elected as congressman, no supporter of ours or persons under our employ were ever killed due to politics,” the younger Nograles said.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Thursday shrugged off the allegations hurled against President Rodrigo Duterte by a witness in the Senate probe of alleged extrajudicial killings in connection with the government’s war against drugs.
Alvarez dismissed as “rehashed charges” the accusations raised by a self-confessed member of the Davao Death Squad against Duterte in the Senate probe.
“There’s nothing new there. I think he is a recycled witness,” Alvarez told media in Dumaguete City Thursday.
Alvarez, representative of Davao del Norte and secretary-general of Duterte’s PDP-Laban, said he is also from Davao and he has no knowledge of the supposed hit team, also known as DDS in Davao.
Alvarez also said he believed that some of the alleged extrajudicial killings may have been perpetrated by drug syndicates themselves in a bid to silence some of those who could testify against the big-time drug lords.
The Speaker said the testimony of the Senate witness maybe part of Senator Leila de Lima’s bid to soften the impact against her of the forthcoming investigation of the House of Representatives on the proliferation of illegal drugs at the New Bilibid Prison during her term as Justice secretary.
He noted that during her term as Justice secretary, De Lima conducted a probe on the alleged extra-judicial killings in Davao but the Justice Department has not filed any charges in court.
“You will be surprised next week because there will be new witnesses who will surface and testify against people involved in the proliferation of illegal drugs at the NBP,” said Alvarez.
He said, though, that the forthcoming House investigation will be in aid of legislation and is not meant to prosecute De Lima.
“We are not prepared to usurp the functions of the judiciary. We are investigating the causes of the proliferation of illegal drugs at the New Bilibid Prison during her time as Justice secretary. And this is done in aid of legislation, so we can determine how we can amend the law to address this problem,” he said.
Alvarez was in Dumaguete City Thursday to swear in about 500 new members of PDP-Laban at the Negros Oriental Convention Center.
Alvarez said the new party members would have a significant role in helping President Duterte push his advocacy of federalism and support his fight against illegal drugs.