SENATOR Richard Gordon said Friday he sees the involvement of Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Leila de Lima in the complaint filed by self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato against President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Trillanes and De Lima are behind that,” Gordon said in a television interview, adding that De Lima was the chairman of the Senate justice and human rights committee when Matobato was presented as a witness and Trillanes was tasked to secure Matobato’s safety.
Gordon said De Lima was desperate because she herself is already facing several cases over her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade.
Gordon said he doubts Matobato’s complaints will prosper.
Gordon pointed out that De Lima initially denied her relationship with bodyguard-driver Ronnie Dayan but ended up confirming it just before he was caught. The alleged proliferation of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison also happened during De Lima’s term as Justice secretary, he said.
“Why should we believe that? Senator De Lima is clutching at straws, I think. I don’t want to be personal but she has a lot of explaining to do,” Gordon said.
“Her credibility is shot,” he said, adding that De Lima was well aware of Matobato’s claims when she was still human rights commissioner and Justice secretary but she did not act on them.
Senator Panfilo Lacson, meanwhile, said Gordon’s committee report that extrajudicial killings were not state-sponsored, was inconclusive because Gordon had barred witnesses from the Commission on Human Rights from testifying.
“It’s just that no evidence was presented to prove the killings were state-sponsored,” Lacson told GMA-7.
Lacson said he was dismayed when Gordon did not allow the witnesses from the CHR to testify.
Gordon, he said, was angry at a CHR commissioner whom he felt had insulted him, and then barred the commission’s witnesses from testifying.
“That is only one aspect to which I do not agree. Because everytime there was a hearing, these witnesses were there. Only the witnesses from Pasay and Antipolo were able to testify,” said Lacson.
He said there were three to four other witnesses or groups of witnesses that could have testified but were never heard by the Senate committee.
“They were not given the chance. So it’s lacking in that aspect. For all we know… there could be evidence to show there they were state-sponsored,” Lacson said.
He agreed that the committee report was not a blanket denial that the killings were not state-sponsored, it is just there are no evidence.
“Anyway when Senator Gordon formally reports out the committee report on the Senate floor, this can be dissected during interpellation. I’m sure many will interpellate there,” he said.
While proving that there have been thousands of killings with impunity, Gordon said the Senate investigation showed that there is no evidence that the killings were state-sponsored.
The report also states that the evidence presented to the committee failed to prove the existence of the Davao Death Squad, much less provide a direct link to President Duterte, then Davao City mayor.
Although the committee did not find that President Duterte authorized recent and rampant killings, Gordon nevertheless found it necessary to advise him that while he has the country’s best interest at heart when he waged the war against illegal drugs and criminality, Duterte should seek to epitomize a man of the law, and be an exemplary role model.
“The President needs to be mindful of his role as head of state and be careful with his words, avoid inappropriate statements lest they be construed as policies of the state,” he said.
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.