Duterte ordered De Lima ambush in 2009, says witness
A witness who claims to be member of the Davao Death Squad (DDS) said on Thursday that then Davao City mayor and now President Rodrigo Duterte ordered his men to ambush Senator Leila de Lima and her team when the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) launched a probe on the vigilante group in 2009.
Edgar Matobato told a Senate inquiry into extrajudicial killings that Duterte personally spoke with the members of the vigilante group ordering them to kill De Lima.
De Lima, who was then CHR chairperson, went to the quarry site owned by ex-policeman Bienvenido Laud in Barangay Ma-a, Davao City to search the area supposedly for the mass grave of DDS victims in July 2009.
“Noong hinukay niyo ‘yung sa (Barangay) Ma-a, inabangan ka namin. Pumasok kayo, naka-ambush position kami,” Matobato said.
(When you dug up the [quarry] at Barangay Ma-a, we waited for you. You went inside, we were in ambush position.)
De Lima then asked Matobato, a former Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu) member, who gave the group the order to have them killed.
Matobato answered, “Si Mayor Duterte po. Kinausap niya kami sa opisina namin, (It was Mayor Duterete. He spoke with us in our office)” referring to the group’s office called the “Heinous Crimes Section” under the Office of the Mayor.
Matobato said their attempt to ambush De Lima failed because her team did not reach the area where the gunmen were waiting.
“Pero hindi ka na pumasok sa office. Doon lang kami sa entrada. Hindi na namin kayo naabutan, ando’n kami sa taas,” he said.
(But you didn’t enter the office. We stayed only at the entrance. We were not able to get to you, we were up there.) CDG/rga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.