Several senators do not believe the statement of SPO3 Arturo Lascañas that it was ‘spiritual renewal’ that prompted him to confess his knowledge on the murders allegedly committed by the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS), supposedly upon the orders of then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
Senator Manny Pacquiao, in particular, moved to cite the retired policeman in contempt.
This was because during the first time he appeared in the Senate on October 3, 2016, he had denied knowledge on the DDS.
Yet these days, he is saying, it was his spiritual renewal that inspired him to tell the truth that the death squad really existed.
The senators noted that the spiritual renewal, wherein he had supposedly confessed his sins to a priest, happened sometime in July or September 2015.
The ‘renewal’ occurred more or less a year before he appeared in the Senate for the first time on October 3, 2016.
An exasperated Pacquiao said, lawmakers are now wondering which testimonies they should believe – the first time he appeared in a Senate probe on October 3, 2016 when Lascañas denied involvement in the DDS, or his recantation in a press conference on February 20, 2017 in which he claimed that he was part of the death squad.
Senator Joel Villanueva told Lascañas said, “you cannot make a mockery out of the Senate.”
Senate Chairman on Public Order Panfilo Lacson said, if the “renewal” took place way before Lascañas faced the Senate for the first time, then as early as that time in October 2016, he should have come out clean.
Lascañas claimed that fears on his safety and that of his family as the reason why he had lied, even after his spiritual encounter.
“Dahil at state ang security ng pamilya ko noon (its because the security of my family was at stake at that time),” he claimed.
The senators could not see the difference on the risks his statements posed on his life now and if he had confessed right after his period of enlightenment in 2015.
Lacson also said that if it was true that he experienced ‘spiritual renewal’ two years ago, then he should have made the confession at that time, when Duterte was not yet president and the risk to Lascañas' life was much less.
“September 2015, hindi pa sya presidente, dapat doon ka lumabas (September 2015, Duterte was not yet president. You should have come out at that time),” Lacson noted.
Pacquiao wondered, “alin ang papaniwalaan namin, yung first statement o yung second statement? E baka sa susunod meron ka pang third statement (Which one should we believe, your first or second statement? Next time, you might have a third statement).”
Lascañas said, he would not make a third version to negate his first and second narrations.