SENATOR Panfilo Lacson said Tuesday he was open to reopening the Senate investigation into the alleged summary killings of pushers and users of illegal drugs as he supported Senator Richard Gordon’s claim that the killings were not state-sponsored.
“I need somebody or something that will corroborate or buttress what [Edgar] Matobato has testified. The witnesses of the CHR [Commission on Human Rights], I still want to hear them out,” said Lacson, the chairman of the Senate committee on public order and illegal drugs.
“It may be another witness or physical evidence that would support the allegations of Matobato.”
Matobato, who claims to be a hitman of the Davao Death Squad, had testified in the Senate justice committee hearings that President Rodrigo Duterte sanctioned the vigilante killings in Davao City when he was mayor there.
But Lacson said he failed to see any proof that would link the President to the extrajudicial killings.
“I am waiting for something or somebody who will corroborate Matobato’s testimony,” Lacson said.
“As for now, no one has corroborated it. No one has corroborated and the testimony is riddled with inconsistencies.”
Lacson also believed that the investigation on the alleged extrajudicial killings was incomplete without the testimonies of the witnesses of the Commission on Human Rights.
“Actually, during the last hearing I was asking chairman Gordon why don’t we just allow them to present just to get over with,” Lacson said.
“But you know, he was very passionate, caught in the moment, he had an issue with Senator Leila de Lima.”
In objecting to the termination of the hearing, De Lima also said CHR witnesses were yet to be presented and questioned in the Senate hearings.
She also said there had been no thorough evaluation of the written submissions and documents by the committee, especially those from the PNP, including the official policy papers on Operation Tokhang, spot reports of the so-called firefights between the police and the suspects that ended up in the death of the suspects, and the SOCO reports.
Moreover, she said, the President and PNP Chief Director General Ronald del Rosa had not been made to account for their pronouncements on the violence of the campaign against drugs.
“The President himself went so far as to guarantee presidential pardons to policemen who will be indicted for killing. Allies of the President are quick to dismiss their utterances as mere figures of speech meant to motivate our police force,” De Lima said.