WHAT WENT BEFORE: Davao Death Squad Senate inquiry
SPO3 Arturo Lascañas came to public attention after confessed hit man Edgar Matobato named him last September at a Senate inquiry as the “team leader” of the controversial Davao Death Squad (DDS).
The Senate then was looking into the alleged extrajudicial killings in President Duterte’s war on drugs.
In a judicial affidavit he filed in December last year, Matobato named Lascañas as then Mayor Duterte’s second in command in the DDS and “most powerful cop in Davao City.”
Lascañas had denied both the existence of the DDS and his involvement in any killing in Davao City when he testified in the Senate in October last year.
But in February, during a news conference in the Senate, he disclosed that Mr. Duterte, when he was the mayor of Davao City, ordered and paid him and other members of a death squad to kill criminals and opponents.
Senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV called for a Senate inquiry into the public confession of Lascañas, whose lawyers from the Free Legal Assistance Group gave assurance that the former policeman was ready to face a Senate inquiry and the proper government body.
During the news conference, Lascañas narrated several killings that he said Mr. Duterte had ordered, permitted or financed as mayor of Davao City, including the 1993 bombing of mosques as a retaliatory act after Moro rebels were blamed for the bombing of a Roman Catholic cathedral.
The Senate inquiry into Lascañas’ testimony took place on March 6 and lasted six hours. He admitted personally killing nearly 200 people and up to 300 with other assassins as part of Mr. Duterte’s DDS.
On the evening of April 8, Lascañas slipped out of the country. He said he received information that a lawsuit would be filed against him and that some people were looking for him. —INQUIRER ARCHIVES
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