Court orders arrest of Matobato
DAVAO CITY—Judge Silverio Mandalupe of the Regional Trial Court Branch 3 on Wednesday issued a warrant for the arrest of confessed killer Edgar Matobato in connection with an illegal possession of firearms case filed two years ago.
Bail was placed at P2,000.
The arrest warrant was issued a day after Matobato failed to show up at his arraignment.
Matobato earlier testified before the Senate, implicating 22 police officials in 1,000 killings by the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS) purportedly on orders of President Duterte when he was mayor of the city.
The case against Matobato was filed in 2014, when he was arrested for carrying a .45-caliber pistol without license.
Matobato posted P2,000 bail for his temporary liberty. But he failed to show up at his arraignment, prompting the court to issue another warrant.
In Monday’s Senate inquiry, Matobato left even before he could face 16 of the police officials whom he had accused of participating in the killings in Davao.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who has been providing security for Matobato, claimed the confessed assassin had left for security reasons. Matobato has not surfaced since.
Trillanes told reporters yesterday an urgent motion for reconsideration of the court order had been filed, saying Matobato had been unable to attend his arraignment because he had been scheduled to testify in the Senate hearing on extrajudicial executions.
He said the timing of the arraignment was “highly suspicious,” pointing out that the case had been pending for two years and yet the arraignment was scheduled on a day that he was to testify in the Senate.
“Still, we are asking for some understanding … that these are the circumstances. There was no intention to deliberately miss the hearing,” Trillanes said. He said he was prepared to put up bail for Matobato.
Trillanes said he would turn over Matobato to the Philippine National Police “with or without” the arrest warrant.
Sen. Richard Gordon, chair of the justice committee, has declared Matobato “damaged goods” and that the panel would set aside his testimony. —REPORTS FROM INQUIRER MINDANAO AND CHRISTINE O. AVENDAÑO IN MANILA
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