Just finished watching Day 5 of the Senate hearing on EJKs. You can binge-watch the whole thing here if you haven’t seen it. This is TV gold!
There’s a lot to say about Leila de Lima’s maniacal rant and walk-out at the end, so if you can’t wait for that, scroll down to #5 below.
Meanwhile, let’s review the highlights that led up to De Lima’s emotional rampage.
In the Day 5 episode, the Davao policemen that Edgar Matobato accused of being members of the “Davao Death Squad” appeared at the Senate. Matobato was kept in another room and was not inside the session hall while the policemen were cross-examined.
1. Trillanes opening act—foiled
To save time, the committee skipped the dramatic witness identification that Trillanes wanted to stage, because the Davao policemen already stated that they knew Matobato, since he used to hang around Davao government offices as a security gofer.
Trillanes looked pissed. He was desperate to have Matobato say anything correct on TV, literally anything, just to prove his “star witness” is not a complete dud. But Gordon was right—the identification would prove nothing, except the fact that Matobato knows the Davao policemen exist.
2. The Cobra Energy Drink guy
Dionisio Abude, the cop accused by Matobato of being the head of the DDS, looked more like a dapper Makati Med doctor than a death squad leader. Turns out he was a Pinoy Hero awardee of Cobra Energy Drink, so Cobra got free advertising when he played the Pinoy Hero video on his police accomplishments. Abude also showed news clippings of arrests he made through the years, to show the people he caught were alive. In one instance, he and his team even saved a drug offender from committing suicide after he was caught.
3. Trillanes’s “watch test” and kindergarten logic
Arthur Lascanas, the cop Matobato claimed was very close to Duterte and the one who received kill orders directly from him, is an old, lolo-type guy about to retire. Lascanas said he and Matobato used to be good friends because Matobato helped him broker real estate deals. But Lascanas said he was not Duterte’s best friend as Matobato claimed. Two of Lascanas’s brothers were actually killed in police operations because of their drug-related activities, and his daughter was not accepted by the Davao city hall when she applied for a job. Would this happen if he was the BFF of Duterte?
Trililing tried to make a big deal about a watch that Lascanas gave Matobato years ago. Lascanas said he couldn’t remember if it was old or new. Trillanes pressed him: old or new? He claimed this “test” would prove Lascanas’s credibility. “Kung relo lang ang basehan ng credibility, parang problema yata yan,” Lascanas said. Everyone in the room laughed. Tama nga naman. But Trillanes kept insisting, so Lascanas said the watch was old to get it over with.
Trillanes later produced a receipt showing the watch was new. He said this proved Lascanas was lying, and his “inconsistency” was worse than Matobato’s inconsistencies. In Trililing’s kindergarten mind, forgetting what kind of watch you gave someone years ago is worse than forgetting who you murdered, why you murdered them, and who ordered them killed.
This is similar to Trililing’s “newspaper test” last week, where he claimed Matobato was a credible witness because the bombing incidents he mentioned appeared in newspapers. Trililing’s single-digit IQ failed to grasp that anyone who read those newspapers or watched the news could tell stories about those bombing incidents.
4. Cop reveals De Lima asked for his number
Another cop, Jun Ayao, was accused by Matobato of killing Davao journalist Jun Pala. Ayao denied this, saying Pala was actually his friend, and he even helped bring Pala to the hospital the first time someone tried to kill him.
Ayao had a revelation of his own. He showed a 2009 affidavit where he narrated an encounter with Leila de Lima who was then conducting her “DDS” investigation in Davao as CHR head. Ayao said De Lima asked about his suspension case, then got his cellphone number. Three days later, she called him, saying she wanted to meet at a discreet place, and someone would be in touch with details. Then, he got calls from someone who more or less offered to fix his case if he testified against then-Mayor Duterte.
De Lima said she doesn’t remember meeting or calling Ayao. She denied her 2009 CHR investigation was politically motivated.
5. Matobato’s kidnapping case and De Lima’s walkout
De Lima set her own butt on fire when she brought up Sali Makdum. “Siempre, itatanggi niyo rin po yon?” she said to the Davao cops in her usual goading, condescending tone.
Unfortunately for her, the cops had done their own digging.
The Davao cops produced documents from the fiscal’s office in Samal and the NBI which showed Makdum disappeared in November 2000, not 2002 as Matobato claimed. The documents also showed Makdum’s wife blamed Matobato for her husband’s disappearance, and she even filed a kidnap-for-ransom case against him and three of his companions! (Remember, Makdum’s wife and Matobato’s wife are cousins. They know each other. This was no random accusation.)
Gordon asked why this was not mentioned until now. De Lima said Matobato actually disclosed the kidnapping case to her when she interviewed him, based on her “extensive” notes.
Cayetano asked De Lima when this interview occurred. De Lima said September 2, and another date before September 15, the day Matobato first appeared at the Senate.
Lacson asked De Lima why she didn’t do a thorough cross-examination on the kidnapping case when Matobato testified at the Senate. De Lima said she just overlooked it. Both Gordon and Lacson looked skeptical. How could she “overlook” such a critical element that essentially overturns Matobato’s claim that Duterte ordered the killing of Makdum? To begin with, none of the Davao policemen Matobato named in the killing of Makdum were part of the case filed by Makdum’s wife, and one of them, Medina, was not even a policeman yet in 2000 when Makdum disappeared!
Gordon asked for Matobato to be brought to the session hall to explain himself, and that was when the second bomb dropped—Trillanes had taken Matobato out of the Senate, claiming it was for security reasons.
To make a long story short, a heated argument erupted between Gordon and De Lima, which you can watch starting from 5:28:00 of the video above. Trillanes returned to the Senate and tried to defend De Lima by saying Matobato did mention the kidnapping case, as shown in the transcript. Trililing’s peabrain missed the point as usual.
Yes, Matobato mentioned he had a kidnapping case, but he never gave the details of the case in his testimony (why would he? the details would prove he was lying). De Lima, on the other hand, had PRIOR KNOWLEDGE OF THE DETAILS of the case filed by Makdum’s wife, but she kept this to herself. She said nothing while Matobato made wild accusations against President Duterte about the murder of Makdum, for the benefit of the foreign media. This smells like orchestrated, pre-meditated perjury.
De Lima only admitted that she had the details on Matobato’s kidnapping case after the Davao cops produced the documents from the Samal fiscal’s office. (She had to admit it to save Matobato’s “credibility”, so she could claim he didn’t withold information.) It’s hard to believe De Lima didn’t deliberately conceal information, because this is not the first time she’s done this. From the very start, she concealed Matobato from her co-chair Senator Lacson, so Matobato’s claims were not vetted before he testified at the Senate. She also didn’t inform the other senators that she had a surprise witness before she sprung Matobato on them. Now, it seems she may have also concealed the true extent of her prior interactions and interviews with Matobato before he appeared at the Senate.
The yellow media are doing their best to downplay what happened, airing mostly the side of De Lima and Trillanes, but you can watch the video of the hearing and see for yourself. Even Trillanes’s lame excuses about the sudden departure of Matobato from the Senate simply don’t wash.
Trillanes said he took Matobato out of the Senate for security reasons. But why didn’t he ask Gordon’s permission first? He knew Gordon had strict orders for Matobato to stay at the Senate until the hearing was over. Also, why didn’t Trillanes bring Matobato back with him when he returned to the Senate, knowing the other senators were looking for him?
Most likely, Trillanes realized he needed to coach Matobato some more after he saw the testimonies of the Davao policemen, so he whisked Matobato away to buy extra time for rehearsing before putting him back in play.
How long will the other senators let De Lima and Trillanes dupe them and use the Senate for their ludicrous gag show? How long will the other senators let these two clowns cheapen the Senate with their squatter behavior, like hysterically yelling, walking out, and switching off microphones when they don’t like what’s being said?
As it is, after this Matobato fiasco, no one will take Senate testimonies seriously anymore. People have seen how loose the standards are. Anyone can just walk in, commit perjury, and get away with it. Matobato proved one thing: the oath to “tell the truth and nothing but the truth” at the Senate means absolutely nothing. By letting Matobato testify without proper vetting, De Lima and Trillanes opened the floodgates of hell and now the entire Senate’s credibility is burning in it.
And for this, De Lima wants an apology? Has she totally lost her mind? In other countries, she and Trillanes would already be facing a firing squad.
So, the question now is, what will the other senators do about De Lima and Trillanes? Will they let these two gutter rats get away with what they’ve done without being severely penalized?
What message would that send future witnesses of future Senate investigations? That you can just say whatever you want, because no one gets punished anyway?
The ball is on your court, dear senators. Please don’t fail the Filipino people who elected you.