Matobato’s startling claims must be fully examined – Palace
MALACANANG on Thursday called for “sobriety and objectivity” after a witness made startling allegations in the Senate that President Duterte gave orders to bomb mosques and kill people.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the allegations of alleged hitman Edgar Matobato in the Senate must be investigated first.
“We will have to await proper investigation regarding the matter,” Abella said in a press briefing when sought for comment.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said he could not fathom the President issuing such orders.
“No, I don’t think he’s capable of giving a directive like that,” Andanar said.
When asked why, he noted that Mr. Duterte was investigated by the Commission on Human Rights when he was Davao City mayor, and no charges were filed as no direct evidence against him was unearthed.
Abella also called on people to “properly weigh” whatever had been said.
“I believe, as in all cases, all citizens should maintain a sense of sobriety and maintain a sense of objectivity,” he said.
“After all people do make statements everyday. And while this person may sound credible, it is imperative that each and everyone of us properly weigh whatever is said,” he added.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said the emergence of a witness was a desperate move to divert the people’s attention from those responsible for the illegal drug trade in the national penitentiary, which will be investigated next week.
Aguirre also questioned the credibility of Matobato who testified in a hearing headed by Sen. Leila de Lima, saying his allegations were “lies and fabrications.”
“It can only be the product of a fertile and a coached imagination,” Aguirre said in a statement.
He challenged Matobato’s statement that he had not executed an affidavit containing his revelations in the Senate.
He said Matobato was earlier placed under the government’s Witness Protection Program, and all of those who enter it need to have an affidavit first.
“He is obviously not telling the truth,” he said.
He questioned as well the witness’ refusal to name those who brought him to the Senate hearing, and wondered who Matobato was protecting.
Aguirre asked why De Lima failed to file cases against Mr. Duterte when she headed the Department of Justice and the Commission on Human Rights.
De Lima had more than six years to file any case she deems worthy to be filed, he pointed out.
He indicated that De Lima’s hearing was meant to create a diversion from an impending inquiry on the illegal drug proliferation in the Bureau of Corrections during her term as Justice Secretary.
“The question that begs asking is why investigate only now? Why only now when there will be a coming House of Representatives hearing on why drugs proliferated in the Bureau of Corrections? Who was heading the DOJ that time?” he said.
“Desperate times call for desperate measures and somebody is really desperate,” he added.
He called on people to watch the House of Representatives hearing on the proliferation of illegal drugs in the penitentiaries so that they would know the motive behind the statements against Mr. Duterte.
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