MANILA – Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, a staunch supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, on Thursday raised the possibility that the alleged ex-Davao Death Squad member who testified in the Senate was part of the Liberal Party’s (LP) plot to oust the president.
“Are you here because you want people to know the truth or is this part of LP’s Plan B to return to Malacanang?” Cayetano asked the witness in Filipino during the Senate inquiry into extrajudicial killings.
A certain Edgar Matobato, 57, claimed that the former mayor recruited him as a member of the Lambada Boys which eventually became known as the DDS, tasked to kill criminals in Davao City from 1988 to 2013.
Matobato recalled how the group was ordered by Duterte himself to kill criminals and non-criminals alike, citing the killing of bodyguards of then mayoral candidate Prospero Nograles who ran against Duterte in 2010; a certain Richard King who was a rival of incumbent Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte over a woman; radio reporter and critic of Duterte, Jun Pala; and an unnamed fixer who worked at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) among others.
Cayetano asked Matobato if his reason for testifying was intended for good or if he merely wanted the President to be impeached so that Vice President and LP member Maria Leonoro “Leni” Robredo could take over.
Senator Leila de Lima, Chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, tried to stop Cayetano for his line of questioning and for consuming more than the allotted 10-minute time to interrogate. Cayetano however argued that he should be allowed to “use his time”.
“I am not abusing my time, I am using my time,” Cayetano said when de Lima asked him to stop.
He also urged Matobato to name the person who asked him to testify at the Senate. The witness however declined to mention a name, noting that he was concerned about the person’s safety.
Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV later declared Cayetano out-of-order for consuming more time than other senators while asking questions, saying that he was not even a member of the committee.
Cayetano and Trillanes began to argue until de Lima called for a two-minute break. De Lima also called Cayetano out-of-order after he refused to be stopped from speaking.
In an interview with reporters, Cayetano described Matobato’s testimony as “100 percent lies”.
Members of LP, including de Lima and Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, have previously denied any plan to impeach the President.