Press Release
September 22, 2016

Cayetano points out "glaring" flaws in Matobato's testimonies

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano strongly expressed suspicion on the credibility of self-confessed Davao Death Squad (DDS) member Edgar Matobato, the witness who testified against President Rodrigo Duterte at the Senate inquiry into the alleged spate of extrajudicial killings in the country.

In the continuation of the probe on Thursday (September 22), Cayetano grilled Matobato on his previous testimonies associating Duterte with the suspected vigilante killings in Davao City during his term as mayor.

During his interpellation, Cayetano read part of Matobato's previous affidavit regarding his alleged involvement in the DDS. But when asked by the senator, Matobato said he has not executed and submitted a formal affidavit to the government.

This is contrary to a report by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) that Matobato already submitted a sworn statement on September 4, 2014, when he was placed under the Justice Department's Witness Protection Program (WPP) and was referred to the bureau by then Justice Secretary Leila De Lima.

"Just an observation, the witness tends to change his testimony. There is no affidavit, there is an affidavit... The witness [also] has a tendency to point to President Duterte. But upon questioning, [it would turn out these are just] assumptions," Cayetano stated.

Furthermore, the senator asked Matobato to recount how he supposedly killed suspected terrorist Sali Makdum under the orders of Duterte himself. Cayetano asked Matobato who ordered them to kill Makdum, to which the witness replied, "Hindi ko na alam sir kung sinong nag-utos."

"Sir, last hearing, pinapalabas mo si Mayor Duterte ang nag-utos. Ngayon, nagbago na 'yung inyong statement... So hindi si Mayor Duterte ang nagpapatay?" Cayetano prodded. "Ewan ko lang, sir," Matobato responded.

Cayetano also questioned Matobato's account on the murder of a National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agent, whom he identified only as "Amisola." In his previous testimony, Matobato said the victim was apprehended by a certain Major Pabo after the former's vehicle was blocking their way during an operation in Barangay Matina.

Matobato claimed that a gunfight ensued between Amisola and Pabo's team consisting of around thirty people, but it allegedly took them a long time to kill Amisola that Duterte had to "finish him off" using two Uzi magazines.

"Hindi talaga ako makatulog sa litrato na trenta ang papatay doon sa NBI agent... Sabay-sabay binabaril... Hihintayin niyo si Mayor na ubusin yung dalawang Uzi [magazines] para mapatay? Trenta kayo, isa lang ang papatayin niyo?" Cayetano asked.

Matobato in response said they had a hard time shooting Amisola since he was hiding under a pickup truck and was also shooting back at them. He also changed his previous statement that around thirty people were involved in the shootout.

"Ka Edgar, hindi ganyan ang testimony mo noong una," Cayetano stressed. "Sabi mo, pickup lang, nandyan lang. Ang sabi mo, nakahiga na, humihinga pa rin... Paniniwalain niyo po kami na trentang tao, uubusin ang laman ng baril, hindi nila mapatay ang isang tao. Ikaw na ang nagsabi, na-corner na siya. Limitado din ang mapupuntahan niya, nakapaligid na ang trentang tao sa kanya."

"The inconsistencies [in Matobato's statements] are just glaring. I will just let the people and this Committee decide for themselves," the senator concluded.

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