Pimentel wants to meet De Lima over witness
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said Friday night he would seek a meeting with Sen. Leila de Lima over the presentation of confessed hitman Edgar Matobato at a Senate hearing, where the witness tagged President Rodrigo Duterte as the brains of a death squad in Davao City during his time as mayor.
Pimentel, Mr. Duterte’s key ally at the Senate, said he would “try to” have a casual meeting with De Lima, chair of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, on Monday.
“I will talk to Senator De Lima and ask her what happened in the last hearing. That’s all. Let the topics of the conversation come out from her,” said Pimentel in a text message early Friday evening.
“Will try to meet her on Monday. No appointment, just casual,” he told the Inquirer.
Pimentel had earlier said Matobato’s testimony “was not even relevant” to De Lima’s resolution that prompted her committee’s inquiry into the string of drug-related deaths under the President’s fierce antidrug war.
The Senate President on Thursday rejected the committee’s request to place Matobato under the Senate’s protective custody, saying there was “no Senate rule to justify” the move.
He also said there was “no showing that his life or safety is threatened.”
Saying she was “perplexed, disturbed, and extremely disappointed” with Pimentel’s decision, De Lima said the relevance of Matobato’s of her committee’s inquiry “is self-evident.”
“Regardless of the personalities involved, his testimony merely shows that what is transpiring now in this country has happened before in Davao City. His testimony raises the legitimate question of whether the DDS (Davao Death Squad) has anything to do or is in fact involved in the nationwide war on drugs, at least insofar as the aspect of extrajudicial and vigilante killings are concerned,” De Lima said in a statement Friday.
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.