Davao court orders arrest of Duterte accuser for Pala slay
DAVAO CITY – A regional trial court here has ordered the arrest of retired SPO3 Arturo Lascañas for the series of attacks on slain broadcaster Juan “Jun” Pala.
Judge Retrina Fuentes of the 11th Regional Trial Court Branch 10 issued on Monday, the arrest warrants against Lascañas for murder and attempted murder charges in connection with the series of gun attacks on the broadcaster between 2002 and 2003.
Pala’s widow, Louise, had filed complaints before the city prosecutor’s office late in May, accusing the retired policeman of carrying out attacks against her husband that eventually led to his death.
In his testimony before the Senate, Lascañas had tagged former Davao City mayor and now President Duterte as the mastermind behind the attacks on Pala. He also implicated fellow policeman Sonny Buenaventura and Mr. Duterte’s driver-bodyguard, Jim Tan, in the Pala case, and other alleged summary executions in the city during Mr. Duterte’s tenure as mayor.
Buenaventura, Tan and other individuals Lascañas had implicated were not charged, however.
The court has set P120,000 as bail for each of the attempted murder charges. No bail was recommended for the murder charge.
Aside from the complaint lodged by Pala’s widow, the city prosecution office approved the filing of cases against Lascañas based on his Feb. 19 Senate testimony which detailed his alleged involvement in the killing of the broadcaster and other murders in Davao.
In recommending for the filing of charges against Lascañas, the city prosecution said his affidavit before the Senate constituted an extra-judicial confession.
Criminal case number R-DVO-17-02085-CR accused Lascañas with the June 2002 attempt on Pala’s life when armed men on a pickup truck fired at him.
Lascañas was charged in Criminal Case number R-DVO-17-02086-CR in connection with the April 2003 failed ambush on Pala in which he sustained a gunshot wound in the buttocks.
The former policeman was accused of murder in Criminal Case number R-DVO-17-02087-CR following the Sept. 6, 2003 attack on the broadcaster. Pala was walking home after a game of cards with relatives when gunned down.
Lascañas fled the country following his Senate testimony, saying his life was in danger for implicating Mr. Duterte and other powerful individuals. SFM
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