MANILA — Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to track down and arrest retired police officer Arturo Lascañas, who left the country last April for Singapore.
In a memorandum issued on June 8 but was released to the media on Tuesday, Aguirre ordered NBI Director Dante Gierran to coordinate with the International Police Organization (Interpol) to gather information on the location and whereabouts of Lascañas.
“In the interest of the service and pursuant to the provisions of existing laws, you are hereby directed to coordinate with the (Interpol) to gather information on the location and whereabouts of… Lascañas and to coordinate with the proper authorities for his apprehension,” Aguirre said in his memorandum.
Aguirre issued the order after the Davao City Regional Trial Court Branch 10 issued an arrest warrant against Lascañas last week over the cases of murder and attempted murder over the killing of broadcaster Juan “Jun” Pala in 2003.
The Davao City Prosecutor’s office approved his indictment upon complaint filed by Pala’s wife Louise, citing his extrajudicial confession of the crime in his testimony during Senate investigation last February where he admitted his involvement in the killing.
Murder is a non-bailable offense.
Before the arrest warrant was issued by the court, Lascañas was able to leave the country last April.
It will be recalled that Lascañas in the March 6 senate hearing accused Duterte of paying DDS members up to PHP100, 000 to kill criminals as well as his enemies when he was still the Davao mayor.
Lascañas also implicated Duterte’s son Paolo – now Davao City vice mayor – in the killings.
Edgar Matobato, another self-confessed DDS assassin, had also testified in the Senate that the President had wanted Pala dead for criticizing him in his radio program.
In pursuing the case against Lascanas, the Davao City Prosecutor’s Office used his extrajudicial confession during the hearing of the Senate committee on public order headed by Sen. Panfilo Lacson.
Besides the President, Lascañas had also named fellow police officer SPO4 Sonny Buenaventura and Jim Tan, Mr. Duterte’s bodyguard, in the murder of Pala.