SOLICITOR General Jose Calida on Monday described Senator Antonio Trillanes IV as a “person of interest” for coddling and hiding confessed criminals.
In a press conference in his office in Makati City, Calida assailed Trillanes, a known critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, for harboring criminals.
Calida said retired Senior Police Officer 3 Arthur Lascañas and Edgar Matobato were both confessed members of the Davao Death Squad who admitted killing criminals and accused Duterte of being their principal when he was still city mayor.
“How can you believe the statement of a perjurer? They should have been arrested first. Is this the job of a senator?” Calida said.
“Give me more time and I will have the proper case to be filed against him,” Calida said.
“Why he is coddling these self-confessed criminals?” he said. “As senator he should help in the administration of justice.”
Calida vowed to go after Trillanes for harboring criminals.
“Trillanes is too much. He is accusing the President of plotting to kill him. I don’t know where he gets these wild ideas,” he said.
On Monday, Duterte belittled Trillanes as being “to insignificant” to bother with.
Duterte admitted knowing Lascañas, who retracted his testimony last year before the Senate in which he denied the existence of the DDS, and said it was Duterte, after all, who lead the vigilante group.
“I saw him once, twice a year [when he was a policeman],” Duterte said, but added that he never gave direct orders to Lascañas because he always worked through his police chiefs.
“I do not deny that hundreds of criminals died in Davao City [when I was mayor]. In my 23 years, they were wiped out,” he said.
On Saturday, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II asked a pro-Duterte crowd at a rally at the Quirino Grandstand who he should go after next, after Senator Leila de Lima had been arrested and detained.
He then asked the crowd to help him pin down Trillanes.
Senator Richard Gordon, a Duterte ally, on Monday challenged Lascañas and the people behind him to file a case against Duterte with the Ombudsman if they have evidence that he paid between P20,000 and P100,000 to have people killed.
Gordon said the Senate was not a forum for grandstanding and gaining publicity at the expense of others by lying.
He said the Office of the Ombudsman and not the Senate, is the proper agency to look into the recent claims made by Lascañas regarding the existence of the DDS.
Gordon, chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, had earlier ruled there is no evidence of the existence of the DDS. With Macon Ramos-Araneta