After a six-hour probe yesterday, the Senate Committee on Public Order adjourned its inquiry on SPO3 Arturo Lascañas citing lack of evidence on his claims and questionable credibility.
Committee chairman Panfilo Lacson said that there was nothing to pursue and it will be up to the Philippine National Police and the Commission of Human Rights whether or not they would want to pursue further action on Lascañas’ testimonies.
The committee will instead recommend filing a perjury case against Lascañas for lying under oath but said that it will not initiate the filing.
In an interview after the hearing, Lacson said, “I don’t know what to believe, to be honest. He can’t remember the first person he killed.”
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III dismissed the testimonies, calling it “hearsay”.
“Lascanas’ statements were a pure expression of opinion. Hearsay so to speak! Informal survey…the general public is not buying,” he added.
During the hearing, Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito questioned Lascañas’ motive to retract his testimonies all of a sudden.
Lascañas confirmed that he did attempt to put up several businesses such as setting a small time lottery franchise, a customs brokerage, submitting an application to operate a van terminal and a contract to supply a government-funded construction project. Eventually, these were rejected by allies of the President.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan said that Lascañas’ testimony were “serious allegations” and that it is better to wait for more evidence and witnesses to support the claim.
In a statement, Sen. Leila de Lima supports Lascañas’ claim, saying that both testimonies including that of Matobato’s “are based on their personal first-hand knowledge, hence, admissible and worthy of credence”.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who facilitated Lascañas’ public confession insist that Lascañas’ credibility is still intact and that there is a case that can be filed against the President.