MANILA –Sen. Panfilo Lacson said that he cannot yet schedule a probe into the new testimony of retired SPO3 Arthur Lascañas –alleged head of the so-called vigilante group Davao Death Squad –unless he submits his affidavit.
Lacson, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, said that his office has already followed up Lascañas affidavit and will schedule a date on the hearing to comply with the three-day notice rule.
“I can’t schedule a hearing without the sworn statement of Lascañas. That’s a requirement,” Lacson said in a radio interview on DWIZ Saturday.
As of now, the probe into Lascañas’ testimony was referred to Lacson’s committee after 10 out of 24 senators voted to proceed with the hearing.
Lacson said that if there will be no intervention from any of his colleagues, it will remain in his committee.
However, if there will be an intervention before Lascañas submits his affidavit, he might no longer have the jurisdiction to schedule a hearing.
To recall, Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate Committee on Justice, opposed the idea of conducting the hearing on Lascañas’ testimony noting that his committee previously ruled out the existence of a so-called vigilante group, Davao death squad.
Gordon led the Senate probe into the alleged extrajudicial killings on October 2016 where Lascañas denied the existence of a death squad. However, on Monday (February 20), the retired cop retracted his first testimony and claimed that there was indeed a death squad hired to kill criminals and non-criminals in Davao City
Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano insisted that it should be Gordon’s committee to hear the Lascañas’ testimony.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III moved to refer both Gordon’s and Cayetano’s speeches to the Senate Committee on Rules, which he chairs, to study further the points they raised.
Lacson said that if his committee already has the affidavit and the Rules Committee has no decision yet he will push through with it because there’s no intervention.
He reiterated that he was not “willing” to hear Lascañas’ testimony out of respect for Gordon but noted that it was his obligation to do so.