By AMITA LEGASPI, GMA News
Despite the recent turnabout of retired SPO3 Arthur Lascañas, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa insisted on Monday that the Davao Death Squad does not exist.
“As far as I know, hindi ko kino-confirm iyan,” Dela Rosa said during a press conference when asked on the claim of Lascañas on the DDS.
“Noong ako pa city director ng Davao, ilang beses ko nang hinahamon yung mga alleged na death squad na iyan na kung nandyan kayo you come out in the open magdwelo tayo kung gusto niyo pumatay ng tao ... hinahamon ko yang mga tao na yan noon pa,” he told reporters.
No one surfaced to face him, he added.
Dela Rosa said what he knew then was there was a gun-for-hire victimizing Davao residents.
“Ang alam ko noon may namamatay na very obvious na gun-for-hire operation. E ‘yung mga ganun na patayan galit ako doon kaya hinahamon ko sila pero wala naman lumabas din,” he reiterated.
He added he does not personally know Lascañas except being a member of the Davao City Police Office.
“Nung ako nag city director nakilala ko sya (bilang) pulis (sa) Davao City Police Office. Hindi ko siya masyadong nakilala,” he said.
Lascañas, in his appearance before the Senate last year, denied the claim of Edgar Matobato that he was the team leader of DDS. He resurfaced recently and admitted the existence of DDS and President Rodrigo Duterte’s supposed involvement in the killings.
He retired from the police service on December 16, 2016.
In his 12-page affidavit he executed on February 19, Lascañas said he was forced to deny Matobato’s claim out of fear for the safety of his loved ones in Davao City.
He said most of what Matobato said in the Senate hearing were true but the latter had limited knowledge of what really happened because the operations were compartmentalized.
“I was present when then-Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte of Davao City ordered the killing of numerous men and women, and have us reward money after we executed them. I was responsible for the killing of many men and women, and at least one child, upon the instructions of Mayor Duterte,” he added. — RSJ, GMA News
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