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Extra-Judicial Killings in the Philippines

Cayetano on Matobato testimony: we were taken for a ride. Backs motion to terminate EJK hearings

“The Filipinos were taken for a ride here… I don’t want the international community to think that this is the kind of country we are running.”

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano had this to say as he backed a move calling for the termination of the Senate hearings on the alleged extrajudicial killings in the country.

Cayetano on Monday (October 3) strongly expressed doubt over the questionable credibility of self-confessed Davao Death Squad (DDS) member Edgar Matobato, who appeared before the probe to testify against President Rodrigo Duterte.

During the proceeding, several senators lashed out at Senator Leila De Lima for leaving out a vital information that the wife of Sali Makdum, a suspected international terrorist allegedly killed by DDS members, filed a kidnapping for ransom case against Matobato in 2000.

De Lima herself admitted that she knew about Matobato’s case as early as September 2, when she first interviewed the witness, but she still allowed him to testify on September 15.

Senators Richard Gordon and Panfilo Lacson questioned the alleged “material concealment” of the vital information to the committee members. This has also led Cayetano to back a motion made by Senator Manny Pacquiao to terminate the proceedings.

“I am sad that we are ending this way… I second the motion of Senator Pacquiao that we terminate the hearing on the resolutions and privilege speeches, even,” he stressed.

Cayetano for his part called out De Lima, former Justice Committee chair, for allowing the witness to testify before the hearing without having gone through the proper vetting process.

He also questioned his fellow senator’s failure to disclose Matobato’s kidnapping case filed at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Cayetano lamented how Matobato’s allegations against the President had caused irreversible damage to the country’s reputation in the international community.

“Mr. Matobato was allowed here without vetting him and without disclosing that case. [International media] put on their front page and put on their shows that the Philippine President is a mass murderer and… that [he] fed his enemies to the crocodiles. May I quote Senator [Panfilo] Lacson in his statement, that it’s toothpaste that you cannot put back in,” he stressed.

“I’m not saying this because the President is my running mate, or because I’m for the President, but because he represents the country. I don’t know how, but I challenge these foreign media, now put on your front page that this witness also took you for a ride because you printed it without checking first and cross-examining this witness,” he added.

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