Hit man gives details of more Davao killings
Despite orders by then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to kill the two companions of a wanted criminal he had just killed, confessed hit man Arturo Lascañas said he did not follow the mayor’s order after the then Davao police chief and now Philippine National Police Director General Ronald dela Rosa told him to defy it.
Lascañas, testifying in the Senate on Monday, said Dela Rosa had asked him not to kill the two companions of Felicisimo Cunanan Jr., the most wanted criminal in Davao del Sur, as the city police chief had taken pity on them.
The two men were not killed in the police operation because they surrendered, but after Mayor Duterte talked to them, Lascañas said the mayor ordered him to kill them in the presence of Dela Rosa.
“I will take care of it,” he quoted Dela Rosa as telling him.
The retired Davao policeman, who claimed to be a hit man of the Davao Death Squad (DDS) under the alleged control and pay of Mayor Duterte, disclosed more hits that were ordered mostly by Mr. Duterte or through his trusted aide, retired SPO4 Sonny Buenaventura, at his first appearance before the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs.
He cited 10 incidents that included the case of Cunanan, at a hearing that lasted almost six hours and what would be the first and last appearance of the confessed hit man.
At the start of the hearing, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said his committee would allow Lascañas to testify even if there was a 2011 Supreme Court ruling that rejected acceptance of testimonies where contradictions could not be reconciled.
Lacson said the committee was, after all, “not a court of law that will render judgment on the guilt or innocence of certain individuals.”
Lascañas’ appearance in the Senate was opposed by some senators who were angry because he denied the existence of the DDS as well as Edgar Matobato’s claim that he was a member of the death squad when he appeared before them last October.
Testifying on Monday, Lascañas first apologized and sought understanding for lying to the Senate last year, explaining that he feared for the life of his loved ones then.
One of the biggest
He then recounted that one of the biggest kills he was ordered to do by Mayor Duterte was the killing of 11 Chinese who were arrested by police after six other Chinese were killed in a drug bust that yielded 100 kilos of “shabu” (crystal meth).
It happened one New Year’s Eve when he was called by Buenaventura to “stand by” after the drug bust.
After a while, he was asked to meet SPO4 Val Carillo of the Presidential Drug Enforcement Agency who had with him seven male and four female Chinese.
On Buenaventura’s instructions, the 11 Chinese were brought to the quarry of SPO4 Ben Laud.
There, Lascañas said he was able to talk to one of them, Alan Sy, who asked for the identities of their captors.
He said he told Sy they were communist rebels and that Sy eventually offered to give them P200 million in installments in exchange for their release.
“I called (Buenaventura) on Alan Sy’s proposal and later on, I was talking to Mayor Rody. The mayor said, ‘Do not fall for that trap. We have money. Kill them all and then afterward call Sonny,’” Lascañas said.
He said he killed nine of the Chinese, the first being Sy, while Jim Tan killed two, both women.
P500,000 for job
Lascañas said Buenaventura gave him and Tan P500,000 for the job several days later.
He also recounted a time when Buenaventura ordered him to abduct a Taiwanese in front of a KTV bar owned by Charlie Tan, a friend of Mr. Duterte’s son Paolo, now the vice mayor of Davao City.
But during the abduction, he said they also brought along two men who they found later were “in the wrong place, at the wrong time.”
He said he was able to talk to the Taiwanese who confided to him that he had problems with Tan.
But Buenaventura ordered him to kill the Taiwanese as well as the two men whom the former told him were “collateral damage.”
“I followed the instruction because that was the order of Superman,” Lascañas said, referring to Mr. Duterte.
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