Alvarez: New witnesses vs illegal drugs at NBP next week
Expect bombshells at the hearing of the House of Representatives next week, according to Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who was unimpressed by the Senate inquiry chaired by Sen. Leila De Lima on President Rodrigo Duterte’s alleged links to the “Davao Death Squad.”
“You will be surprised next week because there will be new witnesses who will surface and testify against people involved in the proliferation of illegal drugs at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP),” he said in what sounded like a veiled threat.
But the House leader stressed that the forthcoming House investigation would only be in aid of legislation and “not meant to prosecute” De Lima, who has butted head with Duterte on extrajudicial killings.
“We are not prepared to usurp the functions of the judiciary. We are investigating the causes of the proliferation of illegal drugs at the NBP during her time as Justice Secretary. And this is done in aid of legislation, so we can determine how we can amend the law to address this problem,” Alvarez said.
On Thursday, the Speaker blithely dismissed the testimony of Senate witness Edgar Matobato, who he described a “recycled witness” bearing “rehashed charges” against the President.
“There’s nothing new in what was said. I think he is a recycled witness,” he said of Matobato in a news release quoting his remarks from Dumaguete City.
The Speaker said the testimony of the Senate witness may be part of De Lima’s bid to “soften the impact” against her of the forthcoming investigation of the House of Representatives on the proliferation of illegal drugs at the NBP during her term as Justice Secretary.
He noted that during her term as Justice Secretary, De Lima conducted a probe on the alleged extrajudicial killings in Davao but her department did not file any charges in court.
Alvarez, a close ally of Mr. Duterte and a representative from Davao Del Norte, said he, as a resident of Davao, had no knowledge of the supposed hit team, also known as “DDS” in Davao.
“I am from Davao, yet I know nothing about the Davao Death Squad (DDS). [There is a] Die-hard Duterte Supporter, DDS, but no Davao Death Squad. I am a member of DDS,” he said.
Alvarez said he believed that some of the alleged extrajudicial killings may have been perpetrated by drug syndicates themselves in a bid to silence some of those who could testify against the big-time drug lords. TVJ
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