A fuming Senator Richard Gordon on Wednesday accused a witness of getting paid to recant his testimony and turn against President Rodrigo Duterte.
Taking the floor, Gordon lambasted retired SPO3 Arturo Lascañas for lying before the Senate when he testified last year before the committee on justice and human rights, which he chairs, and denied the existence of the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS).
But in a press conference in the Senate last Monday, Lascañas recanted his testimony and claimed that the DDS was real and that its members were paid by then Davao City Mayor and now President Rodrigo Duterte to kill criminals.
“Dapat nagalit si Senator Leila de Lima, nagsinungaling sa kanya yung testigo e (Senator Leila de Lima should have been mad, the witness lied to her) when he said the DDS is just media hype, that DDS does not exist, that he had nothing to do with the mosque’s bombing…” Gordon said.
De Lima was the chair of the justice committee when she initiated the probe on alleged extrajudicial killings in the country until he was unseated and replaced by Gordon.
“My Goodness, Mr. President. Now he says he bombed them? And you wanna believe this man? This man who lies frequently, who claims he is paid to murder? He is paid now to talk? Can I ask that question? No, I will not ask that question. I’m sure, I’ll say you are now paid that’s why you’re here and I don’t think you can blame me if I said that. Ako lang ho yun, huwag na yung iba (That’s my opinion, leave the others alone),” Gordon said.
During the press conference, Lascañas claimed that DDS members were paid from P20,000 to P100,000 by Duterte to kill criminals depending on the targets The witness also accused the former mayor of allegedly ordering the bombing of Muslim mosques in 1993.
Despite Gordon’s strong objection, the Senate had referred the issue for investigation to the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, chaired by Senator Panfilo Lacson.
Lacson said he is already coordinating with Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to find out who could be invited as resource persons in the hearing. It was Trillanes, who moved to have the matter referred to Lacson’s panel. RAM