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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Matobato detained in Crame

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Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Friday surrendered self-confessed assassin Edgar Matobato to Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa at Camp Crame in Quezon City.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Immigration has placed Ronnie Dayan, the former driver and bodyguard of Senator Leila de Lima, in its look- out bulletin after the Department of Justice issued an order to prevent Dayan from leaving the country.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV surrenders self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato to Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa at Camp Crame in Quezon City

The BI said a lookout bulletin was different from a hold departure or watchlist order, because any person in it can still leave the country if permitted by the DoJ.

Persons issued an HDO or a WLO who have pending criminal cases that have not yet

been dismissed can only leave the country by securing an allow departure order from the court or the DoJ.

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Matobato had been in the protective custody of Trillanes since he testified in the Senate investigation into alleged extrajudicial killings during police anti-drug operations.

Matobato told the Senate justice committee, then chaired by Senator Leila de Lima, that he was a member of the vigilante group Davao Death Squad, which killed over 1,000 suspected criminals and political opponents of the family of President Rodrigo Duterte.

He also alleged that Duterte, then Davao City mayor, sanctioned the spate of killings by the DDS, which was established by the President.

Trillanes fetched Matobato from his safehouse and took him to Dela Rosa as he had promised once a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Dela Rosa assured the senator that Matobato would be safe, which Trillanes said should not be doubted.

“I respect [Dela Rosa’s opinion]; he has given me his word. I don’t have any reason to doubt it,”  he said.

While De Lima’s successsor Senator Richard Gordon said Matobato would no longer be allowed to testify in the hearings, being damaged goods, Trillanes said  he would also continue providing protective custody to Matobato after he posts bail.

“We will get him again. I’ll continue to provide him protective custody. We won’t abandon him,said the senator who questioned the timing of the issuance of the arrest warrant.

“This is part of the persecution…If you are a critic of the President, this is what will happen to you,” he  said.

Trillanes said the surrender of Matobato showed he was not evading his charges.

“Of course, he is somewhat anxious, he doesn’t know what will happen to him. But it’s good that he was given assurance by the PNP. I hold the PNP to its word to take care of Matobato, just like…. all the detainees in their custody,” he added.

The senator said legal options were being studied by lawyers helping Matobato so that he would not need to go to Davao to post bail. He said a motion for reconsideration for the new arrest warrant will  be filed.

Trillanes also said they will plead for the transfer of the venue of the case hearings from Davao to preferably Manila. He said sending Matobato to Davao was like throwing him into the lion’s den as the city is the turf of Duterte.

Aside from fingering the President, Matobato also told the Senate hearing that presidential son Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte also ordered the killing of hotelier Richard King following a rivalry over a woman.

The witness also named several Davao policemen, both retired or in active duty, as former members of the DDS.

The Justice department has ordered the BI to include Dayan in the bureau’s LBO after he failed to appear before the House committee on justice to answer questions on the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison.

The immigration will monitor his flights, travels and or whereabouts, should the DoJ allow him to leave.

Dayan, who has been accused of collecting money from high-profile inmates, was subpoenaed from Congress to attend the hearing. He, however, failed to appear during the inquiry. 

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