MANILA—Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday denied that he was criticizing the decision of retired cop and self-confessed hitman Arturo Lascañas to leave for Singapore in fear of his safety.
Lacson said that he only questioned who was financing Lascañas’ trip in the context of what he called “an obvious destabilization effort” against Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.
Lascañas said that there was indeed a Davao Death Squad and that he merely lied during a previous Senate hearing in October 2016 when he first denied its existence.
“If I asked which group is financing his and his family’s trip and accommodations in an expensive place like Singapore, it was in the context of an obvious destabilization effort against President Duterte since nobody seems to admit being involved in the scheme,” Lacson said in response to Lascañas’ statement.
Lascañas earlier said that he expected Lacson, of all people, to understand his situation as he too once left the Philippines to hide in Hong Kong after being linked to a double murder case in 2010.
“Of course I understand SPO3 Lascañas’ predicament and I am not blaming or criticizing his decision to leave the country,” Lacson said.
“Anybody who feels persecuted and physically threatened is entitled to make a personal decision on self-preservation,” he added.
The senator meanwhile defended his decision to leave the Philippines noting that he returned after being proven innocent and did not want his foes to see him behind bars even for a second.
“I stated when I resurfaced after being proven innocent of the trumped-up charges thrown against me by the Arroyo administration, I chose to fight my legal battle under our country’s judicial system based on existing jurisprudence although I refused to give my enemies and detractors the pleasure of seeing me behind bars even for a second for a crime I did not commit,” Lacson said.
He said that he would never regret that decision.
“I thought it was the right decision to make given the circumstances at that time. If Lascañas feels the same, so be it,” he added.
Reports noted that Lascañas decided to leave the country after receiving information that a lawsuit will be filed against him. The exact reason for Lascañas’ departure has not yet been confirmed.