Duterte’s son linked to slays, drugs
Whether it’s killings, drugs and smuggling, President Duterte’s son, Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte of Davao City, has done it all, according to confessed hit man Edgar Matobato, who detailed the family’s alleged involvement in murders in the city for over 20 years.
Reacting to Matobato’s allegation, Vice Mayor Duterte said he would not dignify with an answer “the accusations of a madman.”
“Paolo Duterte has ordered to have people killed. They are like sadists,” Matobato said, drawing a deep breath as he spoke.
“He has ordered so many killings. He is like that, like he’s high. He goes to our office and orders us to kill people,” Matobato said at the Senate hearing on extrajudicial killings of drug suspects in the administration’s war on illegal drugs.
People were treated like chickens in Davao City, according to the witness, who was presented by Sen. Leila de Lima, chair of the committee on justice and human rights. “They are killed for no reason,” he said.
Matobato, a confessed member of the notorious Davao Death Squad (DDS) for two decades, said the younger Duterte ordered the executions of several people on a whim, including the June 2014 killing of businessman Richard King and others.
“They had a rivalry over a woman,” he said, referring to King and the younger Duterte. The woman is a franchisee of McDonald’s fastfood outlet in Cebu province.
“It was Paolo Duterte who ordered that (King’s murder). Rebel returnees were the ones who shot him. They were given P500,000, but they were double-crossed by the police officers in our group,” he said.
King, who owned real estate and hotel businesses in Cebu and other parts of the country, was shot dead in his office in Barrio Obrero, Davao City, on June 12, 2014. He was 56.
In Cebu, the lawyer of the King family said he was not inclined to believe claims that Vice Mayor Duterte was the mastermind in the killing of the businessman.
“Absolutely false. I am convinced that the accused who are facing the charge in court are the perpetrators and the statements of the gunman, the lookout and driver of the getaway vehicle pointing to the accused mastermind are true,” lawyer Deolito Alvarez said in a text message to the the Inquirer.
Matobato said police officers led by Senior Police Officer 4 Arthur Lascañas, whom he described as the DDS team leader, abducted two hit men and also took their lives after they had killed King.
2 other missions
Authorities later arrested Paul Dave Molina Labang and siblings Rommel and Rodel dela Cerna. Labang confessed to shooting King while the Dela Cernas served as lookouts.
The three men pointed to Senior Supt. Leonardo Felonia, then chief of the regional police intelligence unit in Southern Mindanao, as mastermind. Felonia denied the accusations.
Matobato recalled two other kill missions that the younger Duterte ordered, just because the President’s son had verbal tussles with the victims while on the road.
One victim allegedly got Paolo Duterte’s ire for saying unsavory words.
Matobato said his team of eight men went to the man’s house to kill him, and they ended up killing two others who tried to shield the man from them.
Gas station spat
In another incident, the younger Duterte allegedly ordered the killing of someone with whom he had a disagreement at a gas station.
“He just got angry and called us. We went there to kill the man. We didn’t know why. They usually order us to kill people and we don’t even know their names,” Matobato said.
He said a gun was planted on the man. “He didn’t have a gun. In Davao operations, we usually plant guns as evidence [to make it appear the victim resisted],” he added.
Matobato, who served as security escort for the vice mayor, also alleged that the President’s son took illegal drugs, and that he was friendly with Chinese drug traders in Davao City.
“He uses drugs but he does not do drug pushing,” the witness said, under questioning by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV.
Matobato claimed that Duterte’s drug of choice was “shabu” (methamphetamine hydrochloride), one of the most prevalent illegal drugs in the country.
Trillanes noted the irony. “He is the son of a President who is waging a determined war on drugs …. Unfortunately, other addicts are immediately killed, but here is Paolo Duterte, the vice mayor of Davao City.”
Oil, rice smuggling
Matobato also tagged Paolo Duterte in smuggling operations in Davao City, saying he had once delivered P3 million in payola for customs officers for the vice mayor at Sasa Wharf in 2013.
“[President Duterte] is angry at smugglers but he doesn’t know that his son handles smuggling rice and oil in Davao City,” Matobato said.
A consolidated report by the Special Investigation Task Group said the Davao police had spoken with several individuals about a “squabble” between King and the son of a business partner over mismanagement of Crown Regency Resorts on Boracay Island in Aklan.
The suspect was heard arguing with King and making a verbal death threat: “You’re fortunate you are not in Davao or else I would have killed you.”
In July, President Duterte, in a news conference in Malacañang, said King was involved in the illegal drug trade. He alluded to King as one of the “connections” of Herbert Colangco, a big-time drug personality, who is detained at New Bilibid Prison.
King’s family has cried foul over the insinuations.