By VIRGIL LOPEZ, GMA News
An anti-crime group said Wednesday it would not easily be swayed by Senator De Lima's challenge to file cases against President Rodrigo Duterte for his alleged involvement in the unexplained killings of suspected criminals, including those blamed on the so-called Davao Death Squad.
Dante Jimenez, founding chairman of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), said evidence should be the basis for pressing charges against the President.
“Tignan natin ang mga ebidensya. Tignan natin ang mga testigo kung credible or not. 'Yun ang importanteng elements of filing a complaint,” Jimenez said in an interview on GMA News TV's News To Go.
“Hindi naman kami basta-basta na magfa-file dahil sinabi lang ni De Lima, dahil siya ay senador at dating secretary of justice. Hindi naman kami ganun. Hindi naman kami uto-uto,” he added.
De Lima issued the call to the VACC on Tuesday even as she slammed Jimenez and other personalities who initiated the drug trafficking cases against her in relation to the illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison during her term as justice secretary.
Reading from a prepared statement, De Lima asked the VACC when it would file the “biggest criminal case in Philippine history” involving Duterte, whose anti-drug war has already claimed more than 7,000 lives since he took office in June last year.
The senator also cited the testimony of retired policeman Arthur Lascañas, who retracted his statement during a Senate hearing last October that the DDS, a vigilante group allegedly supported by then Davao City Mayor Duterte, never existed.
Lascañas corroborated confessed hitman Edgar Matobato's allegations that members of the DDS were paid as much as P100,000 for every hit.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) recommended as early as 2012 to the Office of the Ombudsman to investigate the possible administrative and criminal liability of Duterte for his alleged “inaction in the face of evidence of numerous killings committed in Davao City and his toleration of the commission of these offenses.”
The commission also said it is also pursuing cases as leads arise, which includes Lascañas' revelations on Monday.
Malacañang has dismissed Lascañas claims while the Department of Justice said it was considering filing murder and perjury raps against him. — RSJ, GMA News
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