No one ordered me to pin down President Rodrigo Duterte, a witness told a Senate hearing on Thursday.
Edgar Matobato, who claimed to be a member of the Davao Death Squad, said he appeared at the Senate probe on alleged extrajudicial killings in the country just to tell the truth and not to destroy the President.
“Hindi man ako nagsisira kay President Duterte, Sir, kasi sinasabi ko lang ang totoo talaga (I’m not trying to destroy President Duterte, Sir, I’m just telling the truth),” Matobato said, responding to queries of Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, a known supporter of the President.
When Cayetano pressed on who could be behind possible moves to bring down the Duterte government, the witness said he had no knowledge and would not give further comment on it.
“Hindi na lang ako magsasalita, Sir. Basta yung sinasabi ko, Sir, yung inuutos lang sa amin ni Mayor Duterte (I refuse to speak on that matter, Sir. I could only speak on the orders of Mayor Duterte to us),” Matobato said.
“O inutos sa inyo ng ilang tao na sabihin tungkol kay Duterte (Or some people instructed you speak on Duterte)?” asked the senator.
“Walang nag-utos sa akin (No one ordered me),” the witness answered.
Before this, Cayetano explained his line of questioning, saying he was just testing the credibility of the witness.
“I’m testing whether he’s (Matobato) a credible witness or this is part of the plan B of the Liberal Party (LP) na makuha ang Malacañang at manira lang (to get Malacañang and to discredit [Duterte]),” he said.
Cayetano pointed out that if Duterte is ousted, Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo, who is part of LP, would take the place of the President.
The senator also noted that Senator Leila de Lima, who is leading the Senate probe as chair of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, belongs to the LP. RAM/rga