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EX-DAVAO COP TURNED AROUND, NOW CLAIMS DAVAO DEATH SQUAD EXISTS, DUTERTE PAID UP TO P100K PER TARGET
[RELATED: Lascañas claims referred to Lacson panel for probe]


FEBRUARY 20 -A retired Davao City police officer on Monday admitted that the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS) exists, and that they were paid by then Davao City Mayor and now President Rodrigo Duterte up to P100,000 depending on their target. SPO3 Arthur Lascañas faced the press Monday with lawyers of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) led by national chairman Jose Manuel Diokno. “Totoo po ang existence ng Davao Death Squad o DDS. Siya ay miyembro namin at isa ako sa pasimuno dito,” Lascañas said referring to Edgar Matobato, who earlier testified on the DDS before a Senate inquiry. “Ito ay binabayaran kami ni Mayor Duterte, kadalasan P20,000 or P50,000 at depende sa staus ng target, minsan P100,000. Ako ay tumanggap ng allowance sa Office of the Mayor, P100,000,” Lascañas said. At the Senate inquiry last year, Matobato tagged Lascañas as the supposed "team leader" of the death squad, adding that the police official was close to Duterte. Lascañas then denied the existence of the DDS, as well as Matobato's claim that he was Duterte's right-hand man. "Wala pong DDS. Media hype lang 'yan," Lascañas then said. READ MORE...RELATED, Lascañas claims referred to Lacson panel for probe...

ALSO: Catholic priest approached me for Lascañas confession--Trillanes
[RELATED: Senator urged DOJ to file perjury charges vs. ex-cop Lascañas for retracting early testimony]


FEBRUARY 21 -
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV revealed on Tuesday that a Catholic priest approached him to facilitate the presentation of retired SPO3 Arthur Lascañas to the public. "There was a priest, a Catholic priest who approached me about this, but you’ll have to understand that I won’t compromise his safety by divulging his name," Trillanes said in an interview with ANC's "Dateline Philippines." The meeting, he said, happened sometime in January. Trillanes said he initially wanted to meet Lascañas "to check whether he would be really confessing publicly" because they had an altercation during the September hearing at the Senate."We had a heated exchange, so I was quite surprised and I wanted to hear for myself whether he would really be confessing," he said.Lascañas claimed on Monday that the Davao Death Squad (DDS) killed people on orders of then-Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, a turn-around from his statement in an earlier Senate hearing that the group was only a product of media hype.
READ MORE...RELATED, Senator urged DOJ to file perjury charges vs. ex-cop Lascañas for retracting early testimony...

ALSO: Warning of possible 'perjury' case Senate to probe death squad ‘confession’
[RELATED: Stand up vs sociopath serial killer – De Lima]


FEBRUARY 22 -Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who chairs the committee, clarified that the Senate hearing would not be a reopening of the inquiry conducted by the committee on justice and human rights on extrajudicial killings. Lacson office/Released
Warning of a possible perjury case because of changing testimonies, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said yesterday retired police officer Arthur Lascañas would have another chance to tell his story on the existence of a Davao death squad (DDS), once the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs sits down to listen to his claims. Lacson, who chairs the committee, clarified that the Senate hearing would not be a reopening of the inquiry conducted by the committee on justice and human rights on extrajudicial killings. Lacson said it would be a new hearing based on the new revelations made by Lascañas in a press conference held at the Senate last Monday. Sources said some senators allied with President Duterte had tried to stop the planned Senate inquiry into Lascañas’ new allegations, but more senators, in a closed-door meeting called by Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, decided to go on with the inquiry. READ MORE...RELATED, Stand up vs sociopath serial killer – De Lima...

ALSO: Ouster plot vs. Duterte behind Lascañas disclosures —Palace
[RELATED: Andanar says money offered to reporters]
[RELATED(2): EDITORIAL - Martin’s mouth]


FEBRUARY 20 -ANDANAR:
Malacañang on Monday said a protracted plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte was behind the revelations of a retired policeman, who once denied the existence of a Duterte-backed vigilante group in Davao City when the President was still its mayor. Months after denying its existence in a Senate inquiry, retired SPO3 Arthur Lascañas earlier in the day said in a news conference that the Davao Death Squad did exist and carried out summary executions for the then-mayor. Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Monday said the public already knew that Lascañas revelations were just part of political drama. “The press conference of self-confessed hitman SPO3 Arthur Lascanas is part of a protracted political drama aimed to destroy the President and to topple his administration,” Andanar said. RED MORE...RELATED, Andanar says money offered to reporters...RELATED(2), EDITORIAL - Martin’s mouth...

ALSO: Aguirre - Lascañas flip-flop meant to divert attention
[RELATED: UN probe into Duterte's drug war urged after ex-cop's confession, says HR agency]


FEBRUARY 21 -SPO3 Arturo Lascañas sobs in his flip-flop testimony
SOLON SAYS NO GROUND TO IMPEACH DU30 The flip-flop of SPO3 Arturo Lascañas on his previous testimony at the Senate probe on extrajudicial killings (EJK) was a diversionary tactic of Sen. Leila de Lima and her supporters to muddle the complaints of “serious crimes” against de Lima, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said. Aguirre dismissed Lascañas’ sudden recantation as another Edgar Matobato scenario. Matobato in a previous Senate inquiry claimed he was a Davao Death Squad (DDS) member who acted on order of Mr. Duterte when he was Davao City mayor. “I do not know Lascañas. His testimony is a turnaround from his previous testimony at the Senate. He could be another Matobato as he was presented by Trillanes,” Aguirre said. Aguirre added that de Lima and Trillanes are pinning their hopes on Lascañas’ allegations to divert the public’s attention away from the drug trafficking complaints filed against de Lima. READ MORE...RELATED, UN probe into Duterte's drug war urged after ex-cop's confession, says HR agency...

ALSO: De Lima to Cabinet - Declare Duterte ‘criminal’, unfit as President
[RELATED: De Lima asks court to hold issuance of arrest warrant; says she filed an appeal to be heard on Friday]
[RELATED: Speaker, Mike Arroyo twit De Lima: Is she mad?]


FEBRUARY 22 -
Senator Leila de Lima on Tuesday called on the Cabinet to declare President Rodrigo Duterte incapable of performing the duties of a Chief Executive, calling him the “the number one criminal in the Philippines, if not the world.” 
In a presser, De Lima, who is facing trial for drug charges that stemmed from allegations first made by Duterte, also urged the public to speak out against questionable policies of the administration, saying people should not be blind about what she described as his abusive regime, including purported state-sanctioned killings of drug suspects. “To the members of the cabinet, you can save our country from a criminal President through declaring that because of his criminal mind, he has no capacity to perform the duties of a President,” she said. De Lima called Duterte a “murderer and sociopathic serial killer,” citing the revelations that SPO3 Arturo Lascañas made on Monday, baring how he had committed murders as member of the Davao Death Squad (DDS), allegedly on orders of the then Mayor Duterte. READ MORE...RELATED, De Lima asks court to hold issuance of arrest warrant; says she filed an appeal to be heard on Friday...RELATED, Speaker, Mike Arroyo twit De Lima: Is she mad?...

ALSO: 10 senators vote to proceed with probe on Duterte’s DDS ‘ties’
[RELATED: Duterte, a lawyer, could not have ordered DDS killings: Panelo]


FEBRUARY 21 -President Rodrigo Roa Duterte orders the police officers facing administrative charges to be detailed in Basilan for two years as they were presented to the President at Malacañang on February 7, 2017. The President gave the erring police officers 15 days to decide whether to resign or accept their re-assignment in Basilan. SIMEON CELI JR./Presidential Photo
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. SIMEON CELI JR./Presidential Photo  Ten senators voted in a caucus on Tuesday to proceed with a Senate probe on President Rodrigo Duterte’s alleged involvement in the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS), sources have said The sources said the issue whether or not to proceed with the Senate probe came to a vote during the caucus when Senator Richard Gordon allegedly questioned the decision of the chamber to refer the allegations of the confessed DDS leader, former SPO3 Arthur Lascaña, against the President to the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs chaired by Senator Panfilo Lacson. READ MORE, RELATED, Duterte, a lawyer, could not have ordered DDS killings: Panelo...

ALSO: Desperate Leila calls for ‘people power’ vs Rody
[RELATED AT SENATE Tension fills caucus; Senate probe likely on next week]
[RELATED: ‘Pres’l immunity does not cover murder’ says, De Lima]


FEBRUARY 22 -Tells Cabinet to force out of office ‘unfit’ president
Calling President Rodrigo Duterte a “sociopath serial killer” and “mentally unfit,” Sen. Leila de Lima who is facing three non-bailable drug related cases filed in court by the Department of Justice, advised the Cabinet of Mr. Duterte to force him out of office for being mentally unfit.She also called on the Cabinet members to declare Duterte as incompetent to fulfill his duty to serve the Filipino people claiming there is a provision in the Constitution for this. “Why don’t they disclose the real state of health, physical health of the President? Then, these disclosures, this foe into the mental health of the President that you have a President with a criminal mind,” the senator said. “Why don’t they disclose the real state of health, physical health of the President? Then, these disclosures, these foes into the mental health of the President since you have a President with a criminal mind,” the senator said. “There is a constitutional provision under Article 7 of the 1987 Constitution that, by a majority of the Cabinet, they can actually make a declaration that the President is incapable of performing his functions,” she added. De Lima said that the President is a “psychopathic serial killer and mass murderer,” which are enough grounds to impeach him. “This can certainly be a basis for impeachment,” she added. READ MORE...RELATED,
Tension fills caucus; Senate probe likely on...RELATED, ‘Pres’l immunity does not cover murder’ says De Lima...


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Ex-Davao cop, turned around, now claims DDS exists, Duterte paid up to P100k per target

MANILA, FEBRUARY 27, 2017 (GMA NEWS NETWORK) Published February 20, 2017 By KATHRINA CHARMAINE ALVAREZ -A retired Davao City police officer on Monday admitted that the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS) exists, and that they were paid by then Davao City Mayor and now President Rodrigo Duterte up to P100,000 depending on their target.

SPO3 Arthur Lascañas faced the press Monday with lawyers of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) led by national chairman Jose Manuel Diokno.

“Totoo po ang existence ng Davao Death Squad o DDS. Siya ay miyembro namin at isa ako sa pasimuno dito,” Lascañas said referring to Edgar Matobato, who earlier testified on the DDS before a Senate inquiry.

“Ito ay binabayaran kami ni Mayor Duterte, kadalasan P20,000 or P50,000 at depende sa staus ng target, minsan P100,000. Ako ay tumanggap ng allowance sa Office of the Mayor, P100,000,” Lascañas said.

At the Senate inquiry last year, Matobato tagged Lascañas as the supposed "team leader" of the death squad, adding that the police official was close to Duterte.

Lascañas then denied the existence of the DDS, as well as Matobato's claim that he was Duterte's right-hand man.

"Wala pong DDS. Media hype lang 'yan," Lascañas then said.

READ MORE...

On Monday, Lascañas said he wanted to tell the truth because of his conscience, and love for country. He said he already suffered much due to his “blind obedience and loyalty.”

“Mamatay man ako o papatayin ako, kontento na 'ko na nagawa ang promise ko sa Diyos na magsagawa ng isang public confession,” he said.

He also called on the members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to be true to their mandate—to serve and protect the Filipino people.

“Panawagan ko sa mga kasamahan ko sa pambansang kapulisan na hindi solusyon ang pagpatay. Managot tayo sa batas ng tao at batas ng Diyos. Uusigin kayo ng konsensya natin hanggang sa katapusan ng angkan natin,” he said.

Duterte allegedly ordered to ‘salvage’ drug suspects

Lascañas said Duterte gave the order to “salvage” drug suspects when he was mayor of Davao.

He said the DDS started in a raid of the house of a certain “Allan Tancho,” who was believed to be a drug lord.

“Dito napatay ang katulong ni Allan Tancho. Wala kaming nakuhang shabu at dito nag-umpisa ang Davao Death Squad dahil may iniwan kaming note na 'wag pamarisan at may nakalagay doon na Davao Death Squad,” Lascañas said.

He also confirmed Matobato’s earlier statement, and claimed he was one of the police officials tapped by Duterte to bomb mosques in retaliation for the bombing of a cathedral in 1993.

“Nung nangyari ang pambomba sa San Pedro Cathedral, kung hindi ako nagkakamali, two days after, pumunta si Mayor Rody sa opisina ng Anti-Crime Group at dahil kami ang core group, kami na ang personal na inutusan niya na gumanti sa pagbomba ng San Pedro Cathedral sa pamamagitan sa pagbomba sa mga Muslim mosques,” he said.

With the support of rebel returnees, he said they bombed mosques in Davao City. Assigned to his group was a mosque along Diversion Road, he said.

“Grupo ni Edgar sa isang sulok ng Davao City,” he added.

He said they only stopped bombing mosques when then Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. announced an “anarchy” in Davao City.

Killed family, Jun Pala

Lascañas said the DDS was also involved in the murder of a family, including a four-year-old or five-year-old child.

Twenty years ago, Duterte ordered an operation following the kidnapping of a “Mrs. Abaca.”

He said they received information from a certain “Patayan” that the mastermind is “Mr. Patasaha.” In their follow-up operation, they followed the car of Patasaha, not knowing that the family of Patasaha was with him, along with their helpers. The family was brought to Laud Quarry.

“Positive daw ang subject at dapat erase na, meaning patay na at patayin lahat. Dito nagbigay ng go signal si Mayor Duterte. Ang sabi niya, ‘Sige, malinis lang,’” Lascañas said.

“Isa ako sa nag-protest at si SPO3 Jerry Baguhin na isa lang target natin, masama itong buntis, masama itong anak na four-year-old, masama itong matanda at katulong na lalaki at babae,” he said.

He said he then asked the group to at least spare the life of the child but was opposed, saying it was possible for him to seek revenge when he grows up.

“Namatay ang buong pamilya sa harap ko using a caliber .22 with a silencer. And the rest is history,” he said.

Lascañas also recalled being hired by Duterte, through the latter’s trusted aide SPO4 Sonny Buenaventura, to assassinate radio broadcaster Jun Pala.

He said Duterte paid P3 million to their team, and a P1 million bonus for him.

Pala, a broadcaster of Davao-based radio dxGO and critic of Duterte, was killed on September 6, 2003.

He said they were also ordered probed by the Commission on Human Rights over the murder of “Jun Bersabal.”

Lascañas' brothers killed for Duterte’s campaign vs. drugs

The former police officer meanwhile broke down when he talked about how his “blind obedience” led to the death of his two brothers, Cecilo and Fernando.

He said his brothers were drug users.

“Alam ng mga pamangkin ko na isa ako sa mga instrumento sa pagkamatay ng aking mga kapatid,” he said.

“Sa sobra kong loyalty sa kanyang campaign nagawa ko ito. Sarili kong dalawang kapatid, pinapatay ko,” Lascañas said.

Reactions

GMA News is getting the Palace's reaction as of posting time.

Senator Richard Gordon has earlier said there was no proof to establish that the DDS exists and that it killed people on Duterte's orders.

Gordon is the chairman of the Senate justice committee which conducted a probe into the rampant extrajudicial killings and summary executions.

"Walang na-prove eh," Gordon told reporters.

PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa in September maintained his belief that there is no such thing as the DDS, after a Senate hearing featured Matobato, a supposed member of the group claiming killings it carried out over the past several years.

Dela Rosa, a former police director of Davao City, said his investigations into the matter turned up no results.

“Ilang beses na inimbestigahan yung DDS na sinasabi nila. Creation lang yan ng media pero wala talagang tao na nagsabi na may DDS na isang grupo," he said. —KG, GMA News

VIDEO: BREAKING NEWS FEBRUARY 21, 2017
 
https://youtu.be/_b5P-ESSTOE?t=238

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RELATED FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

Lascañas claims referred to Lacson panel for probe Published February 20, 2017 6:34pm

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Monday asked the Senate public order committee to investigate the confession of retired SPO3 Arthur Lascañas on the existence of the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS).

In a short privilege speech, Trillanes said Lascañas’ revelations were a “big break in the quest for truth.”

“Lascañas publicly confessed and implicated no less than President Rodrigo Duterte to several incidents or murder, contract killings and assassinations when he was still mayor of Davao City,” Trillanes said.

“According to Lascañas, these ghastly acts were carried out mainly by police officials under the guise of legitimate police operations which were never resolved The revelation of SPO3 Lascañas is a big break in the quest for truth behind the so-called Davao Death Squad,” the senator said.

Trillanes’ manifestation to refer his speech to the Senate public order committee chaired by Senator Panfilo Lacson was approved with no objection.

Lacson earlier said he is keen on calling for an investigation if the matter is referred to his committee.

“Sa amin basta may referral, we must call for a hearing,” Lacson told reporters.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said Trillanes should inform the Senate justice committee chaired by Senator Richard Gordon of the request to have the public order committee investigate the matter.

Gordon, in a committee report released last year, said there were no proof of state-sponsored killings nor on the existence of the DDS.

Lascañas had claimed being part of the death squad, saying President Rodrigo Duterte paid up to P100,000 for each drug suspect killed.

Malacañang has denied Lascañas’ allegations. — Kathrina Charmaine Alvarez/RSJ, GMA News


Gordon unmoved by Lascañas reversal
Published February 20, 2017 9:09pm By KATHRINA CHARMAINE ALVAREZ, GMA News

Senator Richard Gordon on Monday cast doubt on the supposed confession of SPO3 Arthur Lascañas, as he rejected a Senate justice panel investigation on the claims of the former Davao City police officer.

“How do you know that he’s telling the truth? How do you know which one is the truth? As they say ‘fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me’,” Gordon said in a television interview.

Gordon, chairman of the justice panel, earlier came out with a committee report saying the recent spate of drug-related killings are not state-sponsored and that there is no proof to back up the claim of witness Edgar Matobato that the death squad exists. Lascañas testified before that panel to belie Matobato's claims. JST, GMA NEWS


ABS-CBN

Catholic priest approached me for Lascañas confession--Trillanes ABS-CBN News Posted at Feb 21 2017 02:47 PM | Updated as of Feb 21 2017 03:14 PM

MANILA - Senator Antonio Trillanes IV revealed on Tuesday that a Catholic priest approached him to facilitate the presentation of retired SPO3 Arthur Lascañas to the public.

"There was a priest, a Catholic priest who approached me about this, but you’ll have to understand that I won’t compromise his safety by divulging his name," Trillanes said in an interview with ANC's "Dateline Philippines."

The meeting, he said, happened sometime in January.

Trillanes said he initially wanted to meet Lascañas "to check whether he would be really confessing publicly" because they had an altercation during the September hearing at the Senate.

"We had a heated exchange, so I was quite surprised and I wanted to hear for myself whether he would really be confessing," he said.

Lascañas claimed on Monday that the Davao Death Squad (DDS) killed people on orders of then-Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, a turn-around from his statement in an earlier Senate hearing that the group was only a product of media hype.

READ MORE...

RELATED: Duterte paid us to conduct Davao Death Squad killings, claims cop

Trillanes said Lascañas was "guilt-stricken" after his first appearance, and he will reveal his reasons "at the proper time when he appears at the Senate."

LASCAÑAS WAS UNPREPARED

From what he gathered, Trillanes said, Lascañas had a "spiritual reawakening" after a successful kidney transplant and wanted to rid himself of his old ways when he was part of the DDS.

"He viewed that second lease on life as [something that] has a meaning and he wants to pursue a new path and from that time on, he steered clear of the work of Davao Death Squad. He was using his medical condition as an alibi not to continue working for them, but he continued to be part of the DDS technically," he said.

"He has been receiving allowances monthly from them, but wasn’t killing anybody anymore," he added.

From then, Lascañas supposedly "got close to some members of the Church," and wanted to make up for all of the sins he committed while he was part of the vigilante group.

However, when the invitation to attend the Senate probe into the spate of deaths in Duterte's war on drugs came, he was caught unprepared, according to Trillanes.

"When the time came that he was asked to appear before the Senate, he wasn’t prepared psychologically, emotionally, and his family had yet to be secured, so it was a dilemma for him, so he succumbed, according to him, to that weakness," he said.

"But after that, he was guilt-stricken and that’s why he eventually had to publicly confess," he added.

Trillanes insisted that although they had known about Lascañas' confession as early as January, "the timing [for Lascanas' disclosure] is whenever we were ready."

He insisted that the confession is not a diversionary tactic from the drug cases filed against Senator Leila de Lima.

"There was a process. We had to check his sincerity in coming out because we didn’t want to get burned by presenting him again and turning his guns on us at one point. We needed to be careful and there was a process of securing his family, preparing the affidavit, and so on and so forth," he said.

Trillanes said Lascañas asked of them nothing else but security for his family, and they offered that "on a very, very limited scale."

"Before anybody would insinuate that he was motivated by money, just remember that this man is risking his life. What is the price of a man’s life? I don’t think you can put a price tag on that," he said.

Trillanes said the Senate should provide "some semblance of security if not protective custody" to Lascañas when he appears at a Senate inquiry.

The senator had asked the Committee on Public Order, chaired by Senator Panfilo Lacson, to investigate Lascañas' confession. Lacson confirmed receiving the referral.

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RELATED FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

DOJ urged to file perjury charges vs. ex-cop Lascañas Published February 20, 2017 4:18pm

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Monday urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to immediately file perjury charges against retired SPO3 Arthur Lascañas for retracting his earlier testimony before a Senate inquiry.

Gatchalian said Lascañas "should be made to pay for the grave disrespect he has shown to this institution."

"The Department of Justice should immediately file perjury charges against retired SPO3 Arthur Lascañas. By admitting to lying under oath before the Senate Justice Committee during the October 2016 hearings on alleged extrajudicial killings, Lascañas has made a mockery of the solemn proceedings of the Senate,” Gatchalian said.

Lascañas testified before the Senate inquiry in October last year on the alleged extrajudicial killings in Davao City, and denied the claim of witness Edgar Matobato that the Davao Death Squad (DDS) exists. He said the DDS was just a “media hype.”

READ MORE...

On Monday, however, Lascañas admitted to be part of the DDS, saying President Rodrigo Duterte, former mayor of Davao City, paid up to P100,000 for each drug suspect killed.

Gatchalian called Lascañas’ confession a narration of “alternative facts.”

"Personally, I find it hard to believe the incredible alternative facts that Lascañas is now asserting," he said. "After all, he was singing a completely different tune just a few months ago."

"Taken all together, it is clear that there are serious doubts about his integrity and the credibility of his new testimony. Unless Lascañas can provide actual concrete evidence to link the President to extrajudicial killings, I would not rely too much on this retired cop's tall tales," he added. —Kathrina Charmaine Alvarez/KBK, GMA News

 
DE LIMA SAID LASCANAS CONFESSION WILL PIN DOWN DUTERTE
FEBRUARY 21, 2017 NEWS INTERVIEW


PHILSTAR

Senate to probe death squad ‘confession’ By Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 22, 2017 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who chairs the committee, clarified that the Senate hearing would not be a reopening of the inquiry conducted by the committee on justice and human rights on extrajudicial killings. Lacson office/Released

MANILA, Philippines - Warning of a possible perjury case because of changing testimonies, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said yesterday retired police officer Arthur Lascañas would have another chance to tell his story on the existence of a Davao death squad (DDS), once the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs sits down to listen to his claims.

Lacson, who chairs the committee, clarified that the Senate hearing would not be a reopening of the inquiry conducted by the committee on justice and human rights on extrajudicial killings.

Lacson said it would be a new hearing based on the new revelations made by Lascañas in a press conference held at the Senate last Monday.

Sources said some senators allied with President Duterte had tried to stop the planned Senate inquiry into Lascañas’ new allegations, but more senators, in a closed-door meeting called by Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, decided to go on with the inquiry.

READ MORE...

Some senators, including Richard Gordon, allegedly took issue with Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV’s providing the Senate as the venue for Lascanas’ press conference last Monday.

Gordon is concerned it might not be respectful for the Senate to just let witnesses, who had testified under oath, retract their statements and testify again.

But after the senators’ caucus that delved on the issue for over an hour, the source said, 10 senators voted in favor of hearing Lascañas, seven voted against it, while five abstained.

IN FAVOR OF NEW HEARING

Voting in favor of the hearing were Senators Francis Pangilinan, Francis Escudero, Ralph Recto, Franklin Drilon, Riza Hontiveros, Leila de Lima, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Joel Villanueva, Sonny Angara and Trillanes.

NOT IN FAVOR

Those not in favor were Miguel Zubiri, Gordon, Cynthia Villar, Sherwin Gatchalian, Manny Pacquio, Pimentel and Gregorio Honasan.

ABSTAIN

Those who abstained were Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Lacson, Nancy Binay, JV Ejercito and Loren Legarda.

ABSENT

Sens. Alan Cayetano and Grace Poe did not attend the caucus.

Accompanied by lawyers from the Free Legal Assistance Group last Monday, Lascañas backtracked from his previous statement denying the existence of the DDS and his involvement in any extrajudicial killings when he was still assigned in Davao City.

Lascañas now claims he was part of the DDS and that he personally participated in at least three murders in Davao City, including that of broadcast journalist Jun Pala in 2003, allegedly on the orders of Duterte, then mayor of the city.

A privilege speech delivered by Trillanes the other day calling for a probe on Lascañas’ claims prompted the move to hold a new hearing on the matter.

Trillanes specifically called on the committee on public order and dangerous drugs to conduct the inquiry, which the plenary approved right away.

Sotto noted while there was no objection to the referral to Lacson’s committee, Gordon, as chairman of the committee on justice and human rights, should likewise be updated, since he oversaw the previous hearing featuring Lascañas and has come out with a committee report.

That report claimed there was no proof to support the existence of the DDS, as well as state-sponsored killings in the country.

“At the very least he (Gordon) will be informed that there’s such a move, not to continue (the previous hearings), but to conduct a reinvestigation based on the new revelations of SPO3 Lascañas, which I will do,” Lacson said.

The senator stressed the hearing would be in aid of legislation.

NO DATE SET YET

Lacson has not yet set a date for the hearing, as his committee is still busy with its inquiry into the killing of Korean businessman Jee Ick-joo.

Once the hearing is called, Lacson said he would invite police director Willy Garcia, chief of police of Davao City when Pala was killed.

Lacson said he has no intention of inviting self-confessed DDS hitman Edgar Matobato to the hearing because it would just prolong the proceedings.

ISSUE OF CREDIBLITY

Possible perjury case Lacson said Lascañas would open himself to possible charges of perjury if his testimony in the new Senate hearing would contradict his testimony in the previous hearing of the Senate.

“The second issue is his credibility. This would definitely suffer because we wouldn’t know what is the truth,” Lacson said.

Eager to hear why Lascañas has changed his story, Poe supported the conduct of a new investigation into Lascañas’ claims, if only to complete the picture on the alleged DDS issue.

Poe said she did not sign the committee report prepared by Gordon because she felt the information presented during the hearings was not enough to come up with the conclusions it made.

Rep. Gary Alejano of party-list Magdalo and a former colleague of oppositionist Trillanes said a “divine encounter” when he had kidney surgery moved Lascañas to “reveal or make a public confession before God.”

Rep. Edcel Lagman of Albay echoed Alejano’s view.

“He (Lascañas) is risking his life. Why should he risk his life if he is not telling the truth? Everything he said is confirmatory of what we already know, such as the CBCP pastoral letter, the Amnesty International report, the Human Rights Watch,” Lagman said.

Duterte not cleared in DDS The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) yesterday denied Malacañang’s claim that the commission has cleared Duterte of alleged involvement in the DDS extrajudicial killings.

The CHR said Lascañas’ revelations against the President last Monday would be considered in the investigation it is conducting on extrajudicial killings in Davao during Duterte’s tenure as mayor.

ALDANAR

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar had denied Lascanas’ allegations, saying the Senate, the ombudsman and the CHR had all cleared Duterte of his alleged involvement in the DDS.

But in response to Andanar, the CHR cited a 2012 resolution that urged the ombudsman to probe Duterte, then Davao City mayor, for his inaction to investigate the killings committed by the alleged vigilante group.

“The Commission did not clear the former mayor of Davao City of extrajudicial killings and his alleged involvement in the Davao death squad,” the commission said.

“It is clear from the quoted portions of the resolution that deaths have occurred in significant numbers and no investigations were conducted by the local government. Deaths continued to occur with impunity during the term of the former mayor,” it added.

The CHR said extrajudicial killings might be committed not only by direct participation, but also as a result of the failure of government to investigate and hold people to account.

“Tolerance or acquiescence to the killings is demonstrated by the inaction of state agents. Our previous investigation showed no serious efforts were undertaken to address the killings at the time,” it said.

The Office of the Ombudsman earlier dismissed the complaint against Duterte on DDS.

MATOBATO

But the case was reopened last year, following revelations made by self-confessed hitman Matobato.

Lascañas had previously denied Matobato’s allegations, but on Monday recanted and tagged Duterte in various killings, including Pala’s murder.

Early last year, the CHR also reopened its investigation following the admissions made by Duterte during the campaign.

But CHR chairman Chito Gascon said the investigators hit a roadblock, as they found difficulty in getting new evidence in Davao City.

The reinvestigation remained open, with the CHR saying any new information on the matter will be pursued and investigated.

Human rights advocates said a probe by the United Nations on the alleged extrajudicial killings due to the Duterte government’s drug war has become urgent, following Lascañas’ revelations.

HR ASIA

Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said the UN must immediately open a probe on the deaths of more than 7,000 people in the government’s drug war.

Redemptorist priest Fr. Amado Picardal, who was once assigned in Davao and is a former spokesman of Coalition of Summary Executions and a critic of Duterte, said he hopes more cops would come out in the open to corroborate Lascañas’ claims and that the DDS exists.

Picardal said he left Davao City in 2011 after he was reassigned to Manila, but that summary killings went on even in 2015.

Meanwhile, Senator Aquino IV asked the Duterte administration yesterday not to mistake criticisms of its policies and controversies for efforts to destabilize the government.

“I think they need to separate what is the destabilization plot, and what is part of the democratic process,” Aquino said. “I think they’re not used to criticisms and resistance to the policies they are putting on the people.”

Saying the Liberal Party would never be a part of any destabilization plot, LP president Senator Pangilinan said allegations of destabilization appears to be a means to divert the attention of the public “from its own errors and inability to deliver on its promise to stop corruption and the drug menace.” – With Paolo Romero, Janvic Mateo, Delon Porcalla, Rhodina Villanueva, Evelyn Macairan

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Stand up vs sociopath serial killer – De Lima By Marvin Sy and Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) | Updated February 22, 2017 - 12:00am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Sen. Leila De Lima branded Duterte “a murderer and a sociopath serial killer.” AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines - With the looming prospect of her arrest, Sen. Leila de Lima called on the public and other sectors of society to let their voices be heard and make President Duterte accountable for the human rights violations taking place in the country.

De Lima branded Duterte “a murderer and a sociopath serial killer.”

She said Filipinos who do not agree with the ways of the President should speak out.

“I am calling out to our countrymen to speak out against our murderous President who should be made accountable for the crimes he committed,” De Lima told a news conference yesterday.

De Lima went on to mention one by one the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), the members of the President’s Cabinet, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and the rest of the people in government with an appeal for each of them.

For the VACC, which filed one of the cases against her, De Lima asked when it would file “the biggest criminal case in the country’s history” against Duterte who, she said, had ordered the killing of thousands of people during his stint as mayor and now as the country’s leader.

De Lima criticized the VACC for having Ferdinand Topacio, a lawyer who has been defending drug lords and former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

For the members of the Cabinet, De Lima urged them to take the opportunity to save the country from a criminal like Duterte by declaring him unfit to perform his duties as president.

De Lima urged the IBP and lawyers in general to live up to their oaths as the defenders of justice and the truth and not ignore the reckless disregard for the law that is taking place in the country now.

In her appeal to the people in government, specifically the members of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, De Lima said they should continue performing their duties in spite of the limited resources and the lack of moral ascendancy of the country’s leader.

De Lima clarified she was not calling for mass action against Duterte but rather for the people to care about what is happening in the country.

“I don’t want to be really pushing for those extreme moves, but what I am saying here is that hopefully the people will finally wake up and not turn a blind eye. Let’s not be indifferent to what is happening,” she said.

De Lima denounced Duterte for the lack of any principle in all of his acts as the country’s leader and that he does not care about what is right or wrong.

“This is called impunity. That’s his mind trip. That is the kind of leadership of President Duterte,” she said.

De Lima likened Duterte to the comic villain Joker, who assembled all of the criminal minds in order to spread evil in the country.


GMA NEWS NETWORK

Ouster plot vs. Duterte behind Lascañas disclosures —Palace Published February 20, 2017 1:13pm By TRISHA MACAS, GMA News


ANDANAR

Malacañang on Monday said a protracted plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte was behind the revelations of a retired policeman, who once denied the existence of a Duterte-backed vigilante group in Davao City when the President was still its mayor.

Months after denying its existence in a Senate inquiry, retired SPO3 Arthur Lascañas earlier in the day said in a news conference that the Davao Death Squad did exist and carried out summary executions for the then-mayor.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Monday said the public already knew that Lascañas revelations were just part of political drama.

“The press conference of self-confessed hitman SPO3 Arthur Lascanas is part of a protracted political drama aimed to destroy the President and to topple his administration,” Andanar said.

READ MORE...

“Our people are aware that this character assassination is nothing but vicious politics orchestrated by sectors affected by the reforms initiated by the Duterte administration,” he added.

Andanar added that the Duterte administration is not bothered by Lascañas' statements.

"Bringing change is not an easy task. The Duterte administration has disturbed/disrupted the establishment. However, we remain undistracted in delivering goods and services to serve the people, not just the interest of the few," he said.

Lascañas previously denied the confession of Edgar Matobato who claimed that the former police officer was a DDS leader.

But in a press conference at the Senate on Monday, he said that then-Mayor Duterte paid them up to P100,000 for every target.

Andanar, however, said that three government agencies already dismissed the allegations of extrajudicial killings against Duterte.

“The Commission on Human Rights, the Office of the Ombudsman, the Senate Committee on Justice already cleared the President of extrajudicial killing and his involvement in the Davao Death Squad,” Andanar said. —NB, GMA News

 
https://youtu.be/eoDW0L-L4dA?t=71  FEBRUARY 15, 2017 NEWS INTERVIEW WITH CAYETANO

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RELATED FROM THE INQUIRER

Andanar says money offered to reporters By: Marlon Ramos - Reporter / @MRamosINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 12:43 AM February 21, 2017


Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar. ALBERT ALCAIN/Presidential Photo FROM THE TRIBUNE: Andanar: ‘Offer made but no bribe confirmation’“ -We received reports that as much as $1,000 was being given in the presscon, which was an allegation from a source I will not name, which is being offered to cover the briefing,” he said. Webb then asked where the $1,000 came from and to whom did it went to, to Andanar said. “These were given to the reporters where the event happened, these were offered but I did not know if these were accepted but I was told that such was the case,” Andanar said. Andanar then stressed that the story told him did not say if the attempted bribery was accepted. FEBRUARY 21, 2017

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Monday claimed Senate reporters were offered “as much as $1,000” (P50,230) to cover the news conference of a retired policeman who linked President Duterte to extrajudicial killings in Davao when he was mayor of the city.

He also claimed that the disclosures of retired police officer Arthur Lascañas during the news conference were part of a plot to unseat Mr. Duterte.

Speaking in a television interview, Andanar said “stories are circulating” that the “opposition” was bribing Senate reporters “to help spread” Lascañas’ claims “to bring down this administration.”

CIRCULATING STORIES

“We received a report that as much as $1,000 [was] distributed during this press conference. I will not reveal my source, but [a] huge amount of money was supposedly given just to cover [Lascañas’ press conference],” he said.

He did not say, however, if the reporters accepted the money.

Andanar, a former TV5 news reader, said the payoff came from “whoever started this. Whoever was trying to discredit the President, those who are opposing this administration [and] initiated that press conference.”

Asked if he was referring to Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who had accused Mr. Duterte of having hidden illegal wealth, Andanar replied: “I cannot categorically say that it came from Senator Trillanes.”

‘Height of irresponsibility’

Trillanes denied having a hand in the alleged bribery.

“I categorically deny giving $1,000 to reporters who covered the [press conference]. That’s not our style and we regard and respect Senate reporters highly to do that,” Trillanes said in a statement.

“That’s the height of irresponsibility for a Cabinet official to say that publicly. I believe this is just to divert the issue of the President’s complicity in multiple murders as confessed by SPO3 Arthur Lascañas,” he added.

Trillanes calls for investigation into DDS killingsNews


https://youtu.be/l3XpYOgaWwI?t=33 FEBRUARY 20, 2017

The Senate press corps also issued a statement strongly protesting the “unsubstantiated and irresponsible claims” made by Andanar.

“To our knowledge, no such incident occurred. Such practice is not tolerated among Senate reporters,” the press corps said.

‘Prove it’

“We would like to ask the secretary to prove his allegations, as such statements placed our credibility and our respective media entities under a cloud of doubt,” it said.

“Otherwise, we demand a public apology from Secretary Andanar for spreading fake news—truly unbecoming of someone who, just a few months ago, came from the media industry,” it added.

In a statement earlier on Monday, Andanar claimed that Lascañas’ comments were “part of a protracted political drama aimed to destroy the President and to topple his administration.”

He said the Commission on Human Rights, Office of the Ombudsman and Senate committee on justice had already cleared Mr. Duterte of complicity in summary killings in Davao City.

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RELATED(2) FROM THE MANILA STANDARD EDITORIAL

Martin’s mouth posted February 21, 2017 at 12:01 am



As a rule, a spokesman is supposed to make life easier for the person he speaks for, and the people to whom that person speaks. He should be a bridge, not call attention to himself.

Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar is the glaring exception to that rule.

Andanar’s obvious main qualification for the job was his experience as a news reader for at least two broadcast networks. This is a vital strength —reaching out to the media is his main task. Knowing their concerns and constraints in going about their jobs is supposed to occur to him, instinctively.

It’s not happening. Not when he was new to the job, and not when he should have learned the ropes already.

Worse, Andanar does not just communicate poorly. He deliberately sows misinformation and makes statements that incense, outrage, and distort the truth.

READ MORE...

The examples over the course of just eight months are many. They range from making an announcement about where President Rodrigo Duterte would be seated at a regional summit to blaming the media for “misreporting” the President’s statement about his inclination to declare martial law.

On Monday he accused Senate reporters of accepting bribes of up to $1,000 to cover the press conference of a retired policeman who claims he was part of the Davao Death Squad and who said Mr. Duterte indeed led the squad when he was mayor of the city.

“We, broadcast, online, and print journalists covering the Senate strongly protest the unsubstantiated and irresponsible claims made by Press Secretary Martin Andanar that reporters were given as much as $1,000 each to cover the press conference of alleged former Davao Death Squad leader Arthur Lascañas this morning. To our knowledge, no such incident occurred. Such practice is not tolerated among Senate reporters,” the journalists said in a statement.

“We would like to ask the Secretary to prove his allegations as such statements placed our credibility and our respective media entities under a cloud of doubt. Otherwise, we demand a public apology from Secretary Andanar for spreading ‘fake news,’ truly unbecoming of someone who, just a few months ago, came from the media industry,” they added.

Andanar could have many motives for saying what he did, but it was clear he was never circumspect with his words.

The President is already a handful. We have already been advised to use “creative imagination” when deciphering the words that come out of his mouth. Mr. Duterte’s convoluted, multi-layered communication style already is bad enough. He does not need a communications secretary to make things even worse.


TRIBUNE

Aguirre: Lascañas flip-flop meant to divert attention Written by Tribune Wires Tuesday, 21 February 2017 00:00 By Julius Leonen and Charlie V. Manalo


SPO3 Arturo Lascañas sobs in his flip-flop testimony

SOLON SAYS NO GROUND TO IMPEACH DU30

The flip-flop of SPO3 Arturo Lascañas on his previous testimony at the Senate probe on extrajudicial killings (EJK) was a diversionary tactic of Sen. Leila de Lima and her supporters to muddle the complaints of “serious crimes” against de Lima, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said.

Aguirre dismissed Lascañas’ sudden recantation as another Edgar Matobato scenario. Matobato in a previous Senate inquiry claimed he was a Davao Death Squad (DDS) member who acted on order of Mr. Duterte when he was Davao City mayor.
 


AGUIRRE

“I do not know Lascañas. His testimony is a turnaround from his previous testimony at the Senate. He could be another Matobato as he was presented by Trillanes,” Aguirre said. Aguirre added that de Lima and Trillanes are pinning their hopes on Lascañas’ allegations to divert the public’s attention away from the drug trafficking complaints filed against de Lima.

READ MORE...

Lascañas, in a press conference yesterday morning in which Trillanes and lawyers of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) were present, made a turnaround in his earlier testimony before the Senate hearings in which he said there was no such thing as DDS and now claims that the vigilante group exists.

It was also found that one of the FLAG lawyers was also the counsel of de Lima in the drug trafficking complaints the Department of Justice (DoJ) filed against her.

The Senate justice and human rights committee report on the EJK probe did not find proof on state-sanctioned vigilante killings and stated that the DDS did not exist. The 100-page committee report was signed by 11 senators after six hearings.

GROUNDS FOR DUTERTE IMPEACHMENT

A member of the House of Representatives also refuted the statement of one of the FLAG lawyers that the testimony of Lascañas constitues a ground for Mr. Duterte’s impeachment.

In a press briefing, Angkla Rep. Jesulito Manalo said the law is specific that any impeachable official cannot be impeached on alleged offenses not related to the office for which he or she is being subjected to impeachment.

“You cannot impeach someone for an offense that’s not related to his office,” said Manalo

“A ground for impeachment must have “something to do with the functions of the person in his office to which he is being charged or questioned,” said Manalo, who is a lawyer.

Abang Lingkod Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano however said that while the subject is debatable, the FLAG lawyers may still file an impeachment complaint before Congress.

“If they want to file it in Congress to impeach the President, we’l see if it will fly,” said Paduano.

An administration critic, Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said Lascañas’ statements must be made “under oath,” through a Senate investigation.

“His statement is very serious and must be afforded the chance to be heard under oath in a proper forum,” said Villarin.

Part of EDSA hype

The “turnaround” of the now self-confessed DDS leader, however, doesn’t sit well with Aguirre, who said the surfacing of Lascañas was merely part of an opposition plot to boost momentum for the upcoming EDSA Anniversary commemoration.

Mr. Duterte’s staunch supporters, particularly online bloggers who have circulated the alleged “Leni Leaks” last month, have been accusing the opposition of painting de Lima as a martyr for the upcoming EDSA Anniversary celebrations on February 25.

“This is diversionary tactic to deflect the seriousness of the crimes committed by Sen. Leila de Lima. This is calculated to orchestrate their call for warm bodies to attend the EDSA Anniversary,” Aguirre said.



The opposition is once again on into saving de Lima from embarrassment for an arrest on drug trafficking charges, with LP-affiliated senators lashing out at the DoJ over the weekend.

Senators Francis Pangilinan, LP President, together with Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon and Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, have ganged up on the Justice Secretary Aguirre to accuse the DoJ of illegally filing criminal cases against De Lima.

Matobato was largely proven as to have lied in previous Senate hearings and investigations into his alleged involvement in the DDS.

Among Matobato’s claim was that he was instructed to kidnap and kill suspected terrorist Salih Makdum as part of an operation for the DDS.

While Matobato and another respondent were eventually charged for the kidnapping of Makdum, it was revealed however that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) does not have any records whatsoever of Makdum in their terror watch list.

It turns out that, according to Makdum’s common-law wife Mirasol Marquez, that Makdum was only Matobato’s neighbor in Samar. It was revealed that they had an argument over a botched land deal, and in turn, Matobato had kidnapped Makdum.

Marquez had filed a complaint against Matobato and a certain Sonny Custodio for the abduction of Makdum over a decade ago.

State prosecutors found probable cause in the complaint against Matobato, effectively indicting him for charges of kidnapping.

Moreover, Matobato had also claimed that aside from being a DDS operative, he was also a militia personnel of Davao City during then Mayor Duterte’s leadership.

The AFP, however, said that they have no records of Matobato “whether as a regular Army personnel or a member of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit.”

Trillanes wants probe



“In what I will make as a way of public confession, this is according to the dictates of my conscience and my fear of God and love of country,” Lascañas said to open his
 recantation.

Trillanes who called for the press conference on Lascañas, took the issue on the Senate floor during the afternoon plenary session, manifesting the need to carry out a new round of investigation on the DDS and the charges implicating Duterte on the alleged summary killings.

“Lascañas publicly confessed and implicated no less than President Rodrigo Duterte to several incidents of murder, contract killing and assassinations when he was still mayor of Davao City. According to Lascañas, these ghastly acts were carried out by mainly by police officials under the guise of legitimate police operations which were never resolved,” Trillanes said in a privilege speech.

“The revelation of SPO3 Lascanas is a big break in the quest for the truth behind the so-called DDS. In view of the foregoing, I move that this privilege speech be referred to the committee on public order and dangerous drugs so that it could investigate and inquire into the matter in aid of legislation,” he added.

Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, as rules committee, referred the issue to the said committee chaired by Sen. Panfilo Lacson but not without having to inform first the committee on justice and human rights, chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon.

“I have no objection to the motion to refer what he mentioned to the committee on public order and dangerous drugs except perhaps that we should just inform the committee on justice also just for information purposes so that they know that there is an issue somehow related to a committee report that they came up with,” Sotto said.

LACSON

Lacson said he does not see a problem in taking up anew the issue on DDS, this time by his committee, except on the veracity of Lascañas’ testimony which will be the starting point for the probe.

“The problem is, he was under oath when he testified earlier. So if he will again testify under oath, he will be open to perjury,” he said.

Duterte ran a death squad that killed many people, including a journalist and a pregnant woman, when he was mayor of a southern city, Lascañas who claimed to part of the group said.

Lascañas broke down in tears as he listed a series of murders in Davao city that he alleged Duterte ordered either to eliminate critics or fight crime.

Lascañas said he even killed his two brothers, who were involved in drug trafficking, due to “blind loyalty” to Duterte as well as cash rewards.

“Whether we buried them (bodies) or dumped them at sea, we were always paid by Mayor Duterte,” Lascañas claimed.

Duterte has been repeatedly accused of running death squads during his more than two decades as Davao mayor, and expanding on those tactics as president in waging a war on drugs that has claimed thousands of lives.

Duterte has over the years variously denied and confirmed the existence of a Davao death squad, and claimed to have personally killed people to set an example for police.

CHILLING ACCOUNT

In one of the most chilling accounts, Lascañas said he and other policemen abducted a suspected kidnapper but also took his seven-month pregnant wife, his four or five-year-old son, his son-in-law and two house helpers.

“Mayor Rody Duterte gave us the signal: “go ahead, clean them up,” he said.

“In this case, evil prevailed. They killed the entire family in front of me, using a calibre .22 with silencer,” he claimed.

He said Duterte also paid him and other policemen P3 million for killing in 2003 prominent radio broadcaster Jun Pala, a critic of the then-mayor.

Lascañas, when he was still a policeman, initially denied to the Senate inquiry that he was involved.

But, after retiring from the police force in December, Lascañas said his conscience dictated he should now tell the truth and confess to being part of the death squads.
In the case of Pala’s killing, Lascañas said he was even given a bonus of P1 million, supposedly.

DE LIMA

De Lima said Lascañas revelations bolstered the claims of Matobato at Senate hearings which she presided over last year.

De Lima said that it might be because of a guilty conscience that Lascañas, who last year denied the existence of the Davao Death Squad vigilante group, came forward.

She claimed that she did not expect Lascañas, the supposed leader of the DDS to show himself, and called the event “explosive.”

De Lima said that she had to move a press conference scheduled at 11 a.m. to Tuesday after she was advised that Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV would hold one at 10 a.m.

She added that she even asked Trillanes to give way for the briefing but was told by Trillanes that he can’t move the schedule of the briefing..

Lawyer wants public as judge

“We would like to believe that when a person runs for president, he presents himself as an honorable man, free of any serious crimes or legal liabilities and therefore he should be free of any crime and therefore I would believe that this is a possible ground for an impeachment,” Atty. Arno Sanidad, a FLAG member who accompanied Lascañas, said.

In the end, he said, the public will be the judge on the credibility of the claims of Lascanas even if he had issued a blanket denial in his appearance in the Senate hearing last year on the pronouncements of Matobato.

“When he appears under oath before the proper bodies, I think we’ll be all in a position to judge and to assess whether he’s telling the truth or not,” Sanidad added.

“What we are saying is, the next step, legal step like for example what was suggested whether it’s an impeachment proceedings or not, that is for the proper body for example the House of Representatives, if there are congressmen there who would want to file an impeachment petition and they would want to utilize Mr. Lascañas then we will help him out. As of now, we have not talked about what exactly we would want to have. The only thing that Mr. Lascañas wanted to do initially was to confess and tell what he knows,” he added.

All part of demolition job — Palace

Presidential spokesman Martin Andanar rejected all of Lascanas’s claims.

“The press conference of self-confessed hitman Arthur Lascañas is part of a protracted political drama aimed to destroy the president and to topple his administration,” Andanar said in a statement.

“The demolition job against President Rodrigo Duterte continues,” Andanar said of the sudden turnaround of SPO3 Arthur Lascañas.

Andanar said that the public is aware that the revelations are nothing but vicious politics being orchestrated by Duterte’s detractors.

“Our people are aware that this character assassination is nothing but vicious politics orchestrated by sectors affected by the reforms initiated by the Duterte administration,” the Palace official said.

Andanar also pointed out that “the Commission on Human Rights, the Office of the Ombudsman and the Senate Committee on Justice already cleared the President of extrajudicial killing and his involvement in the Davao Death Squad.”

Andanar said the Duterte administration remains unfazed by Lascañas’ revelations.

“Bringing change is not an easy task. The Duterte administration has disturbed/disrupted the establishment. However, we remain undistracted in delivering goods and services to serve the people, not just the interest of the few,” Andanar added. Angie M. Rosales, AFP

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

UN probe into Duterte's drug war urged after ex-cop's confession, says HR agency By Rosette Adel (philstar.com) | Updated February 21, 2017 - 1:34pm 7 185 googleplus0 0


An emotional retired police officer Arthur Lascañas tells a news conference at the Philippine Senate in suburban Pasay city, south of Manila, Philippines, Monday, Feb. 20, 2017. Lascanas said President Rodrigo Duterte, when he was a city mayor, ordered and paid him and other members of a so-called liquidation squad to kill criminals and opponents, including a kidnapping suspect and his entire family and a critical radio commentator. AP/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines — The allegations of retiring police officer Arthur Lascañas should prompt an urgent United Nations investigation into the administration's brutal war on drugs, a top human rights agency said.

In a statement on Monday, New York-based Human Rights Watch said Lascañas' allegations heightened the urgent need for an independent probe into the deaths of more than 7,000 individuals in the drug war.

The group said the probe will uncover ultimately responsibility for those crimes.

"The disclosures also suggest possible motivations for the Duterte administration's moves to launch a politically motivated prosecution of Senator Leila de Lima, who as chair of the Commission on Human Rights in 2009 launched the only official investigation into the Davao Death Squad killings," HRW Deputy Asia Director Phelim Kine said.

On Monday, Lascañas appeared before the media to retract his previous denials that he was involved in the killing of scores of people under the orders of former Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who is not Philippine president.

Lascañas said that the so-called Davao Death Squad exists, as he was a member of the group purportedly founded by Duterte in 1988.

Kine, meanwhile, repeated an earlier call to Philippine authorities to immediately drop the "political motivated charges" against De Lima.

READ: Human Rights Watch: Drop politically motivated charges vs De Lima

"The authorities should immediately drop all charges against Senator de Lima, cease their harassment of her and cooperate fully with a UN probe," he said.

In late January, the HRW said the UN should lead an independent investigation into killings linked to Duterte’s war on drugs.

Prior to that, UN's human rights chief last December 2016 asked the Philippine authorities to investigate Duterte for murder after he claimed to have killed people in the past and to also look into the "shocking number of killings" under his brutal crackdown on illegal drugs. — Philstar.com file video taken in December 2016

 
'Extrajudicial killings a direct insult to... by philstarnews


INQUIRER

De Lima to Cabinet: Declare ‘criminal’ Duterte unfit as President By: Tarra Quismundo - Reporter / @TarraINQPhilippine Daily Inquirer / 11:50 AM February 21, 2017

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Leila de Lima on Tuesday called on the Cabinet to declare President Rodrigo Duterte incapable of performing the duties of a Chief Executive, calling him the “the number one criminal in the Philippines, if not the world.”

In a presser, De Lima, who is facing trial for drug charges that stemmed from allegations first made by Duterte, also urged the public to speak out against questionable policies of the administration, saying people should not be blind about what she described as his abusive regime, including purported state-sanctioned killings of drug suspects.

“To the members of the cabinet, you can save our country from a criminal President through declaring that because of his criminal mind, he has no capacity to perform the duties of a President,” she said.

De Lima called Duterte a “murderer and sociopathic serial killer,” citing the revelations that SPO3 Arturo Lascañas made on Monday, baring how he had committed murders as member of the Davao Death Squad (DDS), allegedly on orders of the then Mayor Duterte.

READ MORE...

READ: Duterte is Philippines’ ‘Number 1 criminal’—De Lima

Lascañas’ narration was a turnaround from his earlier statements at a Senate inquiry on drug deaths, where he had denied revelations made by Edgar Matobato, another confessed DDS assassin. He said he was stricken by his conscience to finally tell the truth.

“With Lascañas’ revelations, there is no more doubt that our President is a murderer and a sociopathic killer,” she said.

De Lima also expressed doubts over the state of the physical and mental health of the President, who is turning 72 in March and the oldest in history to take the post.

“Why don’t they disclose the state of his physical health? That goes into the mental health of the President,” De Lima told reporters.

As to the public, De Lima posed a challenge: “Lend your voice. Lend your voice of outrage [for] what’s happening in the country.”

She clarified that she was not calling on people to go to the streets to express dissent, but that she only hopes that those who have been silent would finally speak out.

“Now is the time to make a stand and rise up in the face of a criminal dictator and a repressive regime,” she said. CDG

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RELATED FROM THE MANILA SIANDARD

De Lima asks court to hold issuance of arrest warrant posted February 21, 2017 at 12:23 pm by Arlene Lim



Senator Leila de Lima is asking Filipinos to stand up against the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

In a press briefing in Senate, she tagged him as a sociopathic serial killer and a dictator.

“Sana magising na po ang ating mga kababayan. Yung mga nagtutulug-tulugan. Nagbubulag bulagan. Let us not be indifferent sa mga nangyayari (I hope our fellow Filipinos will wake up. Those who are pretending to sleep or those who are acting as if they are blind. Let us not be indifferent to what is happening),” she said.

She, however, said she is not calling for a People Power.

“I don’t want to be really pushing for those extreme moves,” she said.

De Lima is filing petitions in court to withhold the issuance of any warrant of arrest against her.

She is seeking a judicial determination of probable cause to charge her with violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act.

De Lima said, one of the cases has a date of March 2016 when she was not Justice Secretary anymore.

The senator maintained, the cases filed against her by the Department of Justice (DOJ) at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court has no basis.

De Lima said, there is a hearing on Friday for the appeals she filed.

The lawmaker is charged for the proliferation of illegal drug trade in New Bilibid Prison when she was still the justice secretary.

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RELATED(2) FROM ABS-CBN

Speaker, Mike Arroyo twit De Lima: Is she mad? RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News Posted at Feb 21 2017 01:13 PM


Senator Leila de Lima is seen at the Plenary Hall of the Senate in Pasay City Monday. Voltaire Domingo, NPPA

MANILA - House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and former first gentleman Mike Arroyo threw shade Tuesday at the mental fitness of Senator Leila de Lima after her latest tirades against the administration.

This, after De Lima slammed the Duterte government for allowing a "reunion of criminals," allegedly including the Marcoses, former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim Napoles.

De Lima also urged the Cabinet to declare Duterte unfit to lead.

Alvarez, in a text message to ABS-CBN News, turned the tables on De Lima, saying "Nasisiraan na ng bait yan (De Lima). Hahaha."

The sentiment was echoed by Mike Arroyo, who asked, "Is she mad?"

The former first gentleman also insisted that his wife is not a criminal as the Supreme Court has junked her corruption charges, after she was "persecuted and oppressed" by De Lima and former president Benigno Aquino III.

"On the other hand, [De Lima] is a criminal for dealing in drugs. she must [be] desperate already, blaming everyone except her," he added.


INQUIRER

10 senators vote to proceed with probe on Duterte’s DDS ‘ties’ By: Maila Ager - Reporter / @MAgerINQ 07:52 PM February 21, 2017


President Rodrigo Roa Duterte orders the police officers facing administrative charges to be detailed in Basilan for two years as they were presented to the President at Malacañang on February 7, 2017. The President gave the erring police officers 15 days to decide whether to resign or accept their re-assignment in Basilan. SIMEON CELI JR./Presidential Photo

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. SIMEON CELI JR./Presidential Photo

Ten senators voted in a caucus on Tuesday to proceed with a Senate probe on President Rodrigo Duterte’s alleged involvement in the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS), sources have said

The sources said the issue whether or not to proceed with the Senate probe came to a vote during the caucus when Senator Richard Gordon allegedly questioned the decision of the chamber to refer the allegations of the confessed DDS leader, former SPO3 Arthur Lascaña, against the President to the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs chaired by Senator Panfilo Lacson.

READ MORE...

Lascaña accused Duterte of paying DDS members to kill criminals in Davao City when he was still its mayors.

The 10 who voted to proceed with the Senate probe are the following:

1. Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon
2. Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan
3. Senator Leila de Lima
4. Senator Bam Aquino
5. Senator Risa Hontiveros
6. Senator Joel Villanueva
7. Senator Sonny Angara
8. Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto
9. Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV
10. Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero

The first seven – Drilon, Pangilinan, De Lima, Aquino, Hontiveros, Villanueva and Angara – are part of the so-called supermajority bloc in the Senate while Recto, Escudero and Trillanes are with the minority group.

The sources said seven senators voted against the Senate probe, including Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.

Aside from Pimentel, those who voted against the probe were Gordon, Senators Cynthia Villar, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Manny Pacquiao, Sherwin Gatchalian and Gringo Honasan.

Five abstained from voting and they are Lacson, Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Senators JV Ejercito, Loren Legarda and Nancy Binay, the sources added.

READ MORE: WHAT WENT BEFORE: Davao Death Squad

Only senators Grace Poe and Alan Peter Cayetano were not present in the caucus.

But Poe, in an interview, already expressed her desire to proceed with the probe.

Cayetano, on the other hand, is a known ally of the President.
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RELATED FROM ABS-CBN

Duterte, a lawyer, could not have ordered DDS killings: Panelo Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News Posted at Feb 21 2017 11:54 AM

MANILA - The chief presidential legal counsel believes any Senate investigation on the alleged Davao Death Squad is a waste of time, saying President Duterte, as a lawyer, could not have ordered the murders.

"They can do all the committee hearings, but I think it’s just a waste of time with this kind of witness they have," Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said in an interview with ANC's "Headstart" Tuesday.

Panelo said retired cop Arthur Lascañas is not a credible witness since he had already denied the existence of the DDS, only to issue a retraction months later.

"A witness, to be credible, must be credible by himself and his testimony must also be credible, and on both counts, he fails," he said.

READ MORE...

He also struck at the core of Lascañas claims that Duterte operated a "death squad" while mayor of Davao City, giving cash and orders for police and assassins to murder criminals.

READ: Duterte paid us to conduct Davao Death Squad killings, claims cop

"He claims the president ordered him to kill. He claims he talked to the President about it. He claims he received money," he said.

"How can a president who is a lawyer do that? He is a lawyer. He commits a crime and then he shares it? It’s against human nature, against common sense, and there’s no logic in it," he said.

Asked if veteran lawyers Jose Manuel Diokno, Arno Sanidad and Alexander Padilla were misled by Lascañas, he said: "Lawyers don't lie. Clients do."

President's kill threats not a crime: Panelo

In remarks contradicting his denial under oath last year of the existence of such a "death squad", Lascañas said he was one of the ringleaders of the group that began operating when Duterte became mayor of the southern city in 1988.

Duterte has repeatedly denied involvement in vigilantism or summary executions, either as president or during his 22 years as Davao mayor. His police chief has denied there was ever a death squad in Davao, describing it as fiction created by the media.

On Monday, Lascañas asserted that the Davao death squad was no myth and he was one of those who carried out secret killings of drug dealers and criminals at Duterte's behest.

"It is true, the Davao death squad, or DDS, really exists," Lascanas told reporters at the Senate in Manila.

"When Mayor Duterte sat down as mayor for the first time, we started what is called 'salvaging' of people, these people are suspects committing crime in Davao."
"We implemented the personal orders of Mayor Duterte to us."

Lascanas said he had decided his "obedience and loyalty" to Duterte must end and had promised God that he would confess.

Who is SPO3 Lascañas? Alleged DDS team leader confesses



He is the second man to go public with claims of involvement in murders allegedly ordered by Duterte, the hugely popular president nicknamed "the Punisher", whose ruthless approach to tackling crime has won public approval.

Isyu ng 'Davao Death Squad,' muling nabuhay sa paglutang ng umano'y lider ng grupo

Lascañas claims have been referred to the Senate Committee on Public Order.

'IGNORE HIM'

Meanwhile, Panelo said he has spoken with Duterte about Lascañas' revelations, and the President said "it’s part of the territory."

Though he said Lascañas may be prosecuted for perjury, personally, he would rather "ignore" him.

"From the inception of Mr. Duterte’s presidency, many have started, many have attempted to destroy him. They have not succeeded," he said.

"Sinister forces are all over to discredit, to besmirch this man, but the popularity keeps on rising. The more you destroy him, the more he becomes popular, and the people believe in him," he added.

Panelo asserted that the allegations Lascañas threw against Duterte are "politically motivated," noting that "these are old issues" against him which started when he was still mayor.

"This is what you call politically motivated, unlike the claim of Sen De Lima…From where I sit, that’s political. They want him out. They want to succeed," he said.

He also said the revival of the Davao Death Squad issue is part of a destabilization plot against Duterte's presidency, saying "there’s no other explanation” other than a certain party’s loss in the recent elections.

"They want him out. They don’t believe in him. They cannot accept their defeat. They can’t accept it," he said. With Reuters

 
http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/02/21/17/duterte-a-lawyer-could-not-have-ordered-dds-killings-panelo

 
http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/02/21/17/duterte-out-to-settle-score-vs-de-lima-kiko


TRIBUNE

Desperate Leila calls for ‘people power’ vs Rody Written by Angie M. Rosales Wednesday, 22 February 2017 00:00


Tells Cabinet to force out of office ‘unfit’ president

Calling President Rodrigo Duterte a “sociopath serial killer” and “mentally unfit,” Sen. Leila de Lima who is facing three non-bailable drug related cases filed in court by the Department of Justice, advised the Cabinet of Mr. Duterte to force him out of office for being mentally unfit.She also called on the Cabinet members to declare Duterte as incompetent to fulfill his duty to serve the Filipino people claiming there is a provision in the Constitution for this.

“Why don’t they disclose the real state of health, physical health of the President? Then, these disclosures, this foe into the mental health of the President that you have a President with a criminal mind,” the senator said.

“Why don’t they disclose the real state of health, physical health of the President? Then, these disclosures, these foes into the mental health of the President since you have a President with a criminal mind,” the senator said.

“There is a constitutional provision under Article 7 of the 1987 Constitution that, by a majority of the Cabinet, they can actually make a declaration that the President is incapable of performing his functions,” she added.

DE LIMA WANTS IMPEACHMENT

De Lima said that the President is a “psychopathic serial killer and mass murderer,” which are enough grounds to impeach him.

“This can certainly be a basis for impeachment,” she added.

READ MORE...

Under impeachment rules, however, no president or vice president can be impeached for charges and crimes committed prior to his ascension to the presidency.
De Lima, being a lawyer, should know this.

Still, even if an impeachment complaint against President Duterte is filed in the House of Representatives, the only legislative body that is mandated to initiate impeachment proceedings, has a supermajority and it is certain that at this time, any impeachment complaint will be thrown out.

Calls for people power revolt

But de Lima said that if the members of Duterte’s Cabinet won’t move against Mr. Duterte, she threatened to call on the people to mount a people power revolt to oust her nemesis.

She said she is no longer alone, and there are many of them who not only support her, but also are on the same “oust Rody wave length,” as she invoked the “People Power” revolt that toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos three decades ago, in her strongest comments yet against Mr. Duterte and his war on drugs that has claimed thousands of lives.

Catholic Church bishops which helped lead the People Power revolt, has in recent months begun to speak out against the drug war and on Saturday held a rally against the killings, attracting thousands of people mostly made up of the yellows, students and teachers.

But Duterte remains popular with many Filipinos, who see him as the strongman needed to fight drugs and corruption, and there is little expectation of a popular uprising against him in the near future.

But de Lima insists that “there is no more doubt that our president is a murderer and sociopathic serial killer,” de Lima told reporters, as she urged ordinary Filipinos to voice opposition to his rule.

VISIBLY SHAKEN

The visibly shaken and desperate de Lima said it is time the Filipino people realize that President Duterte is not fit to hold the highest position in the land as he is a “criminal and a serial killer” over and over again.

De Lima said Duterte is using his power against people who refuse to obey and support him in his “extrajudicial habit of killing people.”

She said it is very sad to note that Duterte has been able to get away with his “killing spree” in Davao City and is now implementing the deed in the whole country.

She stressed that the recent pronouncement of SPO3 Arthur Lascañas on Duterte’s hand in the Davao Death Squad (DDS) “is very disturbing” and accused Duterte of being “physically and mentally” incapable to hold the highest position in the land.

Calls Cabinet ouster for Rody

In calling the Cabinet to force the President out of office, the senator said the Constitution allowed for a majority in his Cabinet to force him to step down by ruling that he was mentally incapacitated, and urged members to do so.

This was tried under the administration of then President Gloria Arroyo by the “yellows” of the Liberal Party (LP) when they made a bid to stage a “constitutional coup” by demanding her resignation.

This failed, as Mrs. Arroyo fired those who wanted to force her out.

“Now the time has come again for us to be brave and stand up to another criminal dictator and his evil regime,” de Lima said, while comparing Mr. Duterte to Batman’s foe, the Joker, saying the president was like Joker, also a “psychotic murderer” who led other villains into committing crimes.

The “Joker” reunited criminals in Gotham City to try and defeat superhero Batman.


GAMESWIRE Image Gallery: Joker batman evil

Under the current administration, the senator said criminals were “reunited” by the “Philippines’, if not the world’s No. 1 killer,” President Duterte.

“There is a reunion among the cirminals of the Duterte government. It is no different from the Batman film where Joker called for all the underworld characters in Gotham City to be belong to the dark side,” de Lima said.

“President Duterte is Joker who is a psychotic killer and the leader of the criminals in his government and the criminals in Marcos and Arroyo’s terms,” she added.

She identified those with “questionable characters” as the Marcoses, former President Gloria Arroyo, alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, and their lawyers, including Ferdinand Topacio, supposed “operators” Sandra Cam, Dante Jimenez of the Violence Against Crime and Corruption, and former National Bureau of Investigation deputy directors Reynaldo Esmeralda and Ruel Lasala.

She added too, among the alleged criminals the numbe rone enforcers of the orders of Duterte naming Secretary Aguirre at SolGen Calida who are abusive and arroant.

‘Admin using me to silence critics’

De Lima said the Duterte government was attempting to silence its critics by making an example out of her, as she ended up facing drug-related charges after criticizing the administration.

De Lima said she is determined to fight despite the supposed political harassment of the administration. De Lima has been protryaing herself as a “poltiical prisoner under the Duterte regime.

In the same press conference, de Lima said Duterte is using his power against people who refuse to obey and support him in his “extrajudicial habit of killing people.”

De Lima said it is very sad to note that Duterte was able to get away with his “killing spree” in Davao City and is now implementing the deed in the whole country.

She said the recent pronouncement of SPO3 Arthur Lascañas on Duterte’s hand in the Davao Death Squad (DDS) “is very disturbing.”

De Lima also accused Duterte of being “physically and mentally” incapable to hold the highest position in the land.

“This can certainly be a basis for impeachment,” she added.

De Lima added she is hopeful that the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court (RTC) will reach a favorable decision on the cases filed against her by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

De Lima’s lawyers filed last Monday motions to dismiss the criminal charges against her. She filed a motion to quash and a motion of judicial determination of probable cause insisting that it is the Ombudsman and not the court that has jurisdiction over her case.

CASES WILL BE HANDLED AT  THE MUNTINLUPA CITY 3 RTC BRANCHES

The cases against De Lima will be handled by Muntinlupa City RTC Branches 204, 205, and 206.

“I am asking the courts to dismiss the cases since these were not filed in the proper forum. It is the Ombudsman that has the jurisdiction over my cases, not the courts, then eventually the Sandiganbayan if and when the Ombudsman finds probable cause,” De Lima said.

De Lima said that if the courts agree that they do not have jurisdiction then her case will be dismissed and will no longer be questioned by the DoJ or complainants who filed charges against her.

She, however, said that even if the courts will decide that they have jurisdiction, they also have to determine if they have probable cause.

“Let us wait for he action of the Regional Courts because we have remedies, such as motion to quash, motion of judicial determination of probable cause,” de Lima said.

“And let’s wait for the resolution, if they deny it then we will avail of the proper remedy which is going to the proper court either the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court,” she added.

Last Friday, the DoJ filed three counts of illegal drugs charges before the Muntinlupa City RTC against De Lima and several others in connection to their alleged involvement in the proliferation of the illegal drugs trade inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.

De Lima added she is hopeful that the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court (RTC) will reach a favorable decision on the cases filed against her by the Department of Justice .

De Lima’s lawyers filed last Monday motions to dismiss the criminal charges against her. She filed a motion to quash and a motion of judicial determination of probable cause insisting that it is the Ombudsman and not the court that has jurisdiction over her case.

The cases against her Lima will be handled by Muntinlupa City RTC Branches 204, 205, and 206.

De Lima could be detained anytime, although the courts hearing the cases must issue an arrest warrant.

When asked about de Lima’s comments on Tuesday, presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella simply described them as “colorful language” and pointed out that Duterte would allow public demonstrations against him.

Duterte, 71, won the presidential election last year after promising during the campaign to eradicate drugs in society by killing tens of thousands of people.

He immediately launched the crackdown after taking office in June and police have reported killing 2,555 drug suspects since then, with about 4,000 other people murdered in unexplained circumstances.

Amnesty International has warned that police actions in the drug war may amount to crimes against humanity.

Duterte has at times insisted he and his security forces are not breaking any laws in prosecuting the drug war. With AFP

--------------------------------------

RELATED FROM THE TRIBUNE

Tension fills caucus; Senate probe likely on Written by Angie M. Rosales Wednesday, 22 February 2017 00:00


 

DIVIDED SENATE

The Senate appeared divided over efforts of President Duterte’s critics to probe SPO3 Arthur Lascanas’ claims made to the media last Monday implicating Mr. Duterte to several past summary killings through a new inquiry into extrajudicial killings (EJK) as allies of Mr. Duterte tried to block the proposed investigation.

Apparent last-ditch efforts to overturn an earlier decision on the floor yesterday that referred Lascanas’ “confession” to the committee on public order and dangerous drugs chaired by Sen. Panfilo Lacson was put to naught as surprisingly, administration senators were outnumbered in the vote.

At least 10 senators “voted” to uphold the referral which was based on an earlier proposal of Sen. Antonio Trillanes to conduct the probe that effectively indicated their inclination to pursue the investigation on the revelations against Duterte by Lascañas, while seven dissented and five abstained.

Tension filled the closed-door caucus, prompting Senate leaders to abruptlycall for the suspension of the afternoon plenary proceedings and defer action and decision to today, in another round of caucus.

SENATORS TIGHT-LIPPED WITH DETAILS

Senators, when reporters tried to seek clarification as to what had transpired in the said caucus, were tight-lipped, refusing to provide any details.

“I’m sorry I have nothing to report. We have matters to attend to and we are short of time,” Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel told reporters after the said caucus.

But his claims was practically belied by Sen. Manny Pacquiao who, in apparent slip of the tongue, said they have other pending issues still lined up for the day’s session.
Sources claimed that some senators aligned with the administration “proceeded” to Malacañang.

Inquiry thru Lacson panel

Among those who supported the referral to Lacson’s committee, sources said were Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon along with Senators Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, Bam Aquino, Joel Villanueva, Sonny Angara, Francis Escudero, Ralph Recto and Trillanes.

Those who abstained were supposedly Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Senators Nancy Binay, Panfilo Lacson Loren Legarda and Gregorio Honasan.

While those who stood against the planned probe were Senators Richard Gordon, Win Gatchalian, Cynthia Villar, Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, Pacquiao, JV Ejercito and Pimentel.

Absent from the session were Senators Grace Poe and Alan Peter Cayetano.

It was not, however, clear if the said voting held behind closed doors will hold water if and when the issue is brought to the floor today and debated upon, unless the issue is settled in another caucus which, according to Pacquiao is set to be called by the upper chamber leadership.

Lascañas’ alleged that Mr. Duterte allegedly paid assassins under the DDS to kill criminals in Davao City when he was still its mayor.

PACQUIAO

“We are still trying to cool off,” Pacquiao said when confronted by reporters after the session.

Pacquiao was scheduled to continue his interpellations on a resolution of Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon but the Senate had to adjourn the session as emotions ran high.

Trillanes was also tight-lipped about what had transpired in the caucus but he said that the inquiry would definitely push through.

Asked about the planned inquiry on Lascañas, Pimentel referred media to Lacson.

Prior to the said caucus and voting, Lacson said in an interview with reporters that he’s already scheduling a hearing sometime next week but will also finalize details until after he had duly “notified” Gordon whose committee on justice and human rights took up the matter on the EJKs and the existence of the Davao Death Squad (DDS).

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RELATED(2) FROM THE MANILA TIMES

‘Pres’l immunity does not cover murder’ BY JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA, TMT ON FEBRUARY 22, 2017 TOP STORIES

THE revelation made by retired police officer Arturo Lascañas that President Rodrigo Duterte ordered members of the Davao Death Squad (DDS) to kill criminals in Davao City raises questions on the doctrine of presidential immunity from suit, Senator Leila de Lima said Tuesday.

According to her, the people who crafted the principle of presidential immunity did not foresee a situation where the President of the country would be involved in “high crimes.”

She noted that the underlying rationale for the doctrine is to prevent the President from being distracted from his work if anyone can file a case against him or her.

De Lima said she believes that Duterte can be charged with murder because the doctrine of presidential immunity does not apply under the current case.

Lascanas was earlier identified as a DDS leader but he denied it when he appeared at the Senate last year.

He resurfaced on Monday to admit that he was part of the death squad and that he received orders directly from Duterte, who was then the mayor of Davao City. The former police officers also claimed that he received allowances and bonuses from Duterte after every successful operation against suspected criminals.

De Lima said the public confession of Lascanas showed that Duterte is a “psychopathic serial killer and mass murderer” thus he should not be covered by presidential immunity.

It can also be used as basis for the filing of an impeachment complaint against the President, she added.

“These are murders, extrajudicial killings, mass murders, crimes against humanity, in other words high crime and a ground for impeachment,” she added.

“There is no more doubt that our president is a murderer and sociopathic serial killer,” De Lima said as she called on the cabinet to declare Duterte unfit to lead and ordinary Filipinos to voice their opposition to his rule.

De Lima said the constitution allowed for a majority in his cabinet to force him to step down by ruling that he was mentally incapacitated.

“Now the time has come again for us to be brave and stand up to another criminal dictator and his evil regime,” the senator added.


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