MAGANES: Matobato’s antics and lies
It seems that Senator Leila De Lima has no focus on her on-going Senate inquiry on the spate of killings on drug related activities in the country. Her Senate inquiry, being the chair of Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, must be undertaken in aid of legislation, meaning after the inquiry a law shall be passed in regards to the stoppage of killings and to guide the law enforcers in carrying out their duties and responsibilities.
In the previous two hearings of De Lima’s committee, she presented witnesses, either wives or children of those killed in a so-called war against illegal drugs. They were presented incognito- clad ala “ninja” warriors with sunglasses to cover their faces. During the hearing, one incident presented was not done during the administration of President Duterte but during PNoy’s time in June 2016. De Lima was trying to project herself as one who is smart, she having been the chair of Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and a former Justice Secretary- a position she held on until she ran as senator last election.
Then came the third Senate inquiry of her committee last September 15. Pretending to be in control of the hearing, De Lima presented another witness on the inquiry of extra judicial killings (EJK) on the war of illegal drugs under President Duterte’s administration. Surprise of all surprises, she presented a witness named Edgar Matobato, a self confessed killer in Davao City from 1988 to 2002, years when President Duterte was still a mayor of Davao City.
Matobato projected himself confidently and seemed to be knowledgeable of what he’s saying. He talked about the killings in Davao City which he participated in. All of the killings he pointed out were all ordered by then Mayor Duterte. Later on even his son, Paolo Duterte the incumbent vice mayor of Davao City, was dragged in his testimony.
I was glued on my seat watching over my laptop the proceedings of the hearing. I took down notes of what he was saying to pinpoint inconsistencies later on. It was not only me watching, I guessed. Netizens watching over the social media had started commenting against Matobato, De Lima and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV. Senators Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and Allan Peter Cayetano seemed to have done their homework. Matobato was tested on his credibility debunking his recall of time and the names of persons allegedly killed during those time. De Lima on the sideline kept on lawyering for Matobato and trying to elicit more information to pin down President Duterte on EKJ during those years mentioned earlier in Davao City.
On my personal notes, Matobato’s statements were openly incredulous. He said, he was part of “Lambada Boys” in 1988 – a group he said was organized by then Mayor Duterte. The “Lambada Boys” was, according to Matobato, tasked to summary kill rapists, drug users and peddlers, criminals, etc. in Davao City, all upon the orders of Duterte. The name “Lambada” might be taken from a famous song and dance of the same title. But “Lambada”, which became a famous song and dance, was only released in July 1989. How come that Duterte named the group “Lambada”?
I took note also of his recall of the time of Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) when Matobato kept on repeating that summary executions were ordered by Police Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa in 2002. PAOCTF, which was then under Director General, now Senator Lacson was disbanded in 2011, right after the ouster of then President Joseph “Erap” Estrada. Lacson took cognizance also of that faux pas of Matobato.
Matobato’s testimonies in that Senate inquiry were full of loopholes and inconsistencies. It appeared that he was “coached” to give his narrative testimony that most of the time he buckled down to the questions coming from the senators. Maybe he was not prepared to parry off the questions because they were not part of the script prepared for that day. I surmised that De Lima herself was not prepared in “coaching” Matobato, thus she has to intervene in between questioning of the senators re-directing Matobato’s supposed answers.
In the first place, why was Matobato presented as a witness when his testimonies have nothing to do with the Senate inquiry’s direction? What was the motive of De Lima to have him as a witness? De Lima might be establishing a pattern of EKJ from that of Duterte’s administration as mayor of Davao City. She might also want to get even with President Duterte in dragging her name to the “drug link matrix” at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP). And, she might be trying to impress the people that she’s doing her job as a senator. Whatever motives she has, all boiled down to the fact that the Senate inquiry was uncalled for particularly that she presented a “fake witness,” who could not articulate the “script” he was about to bring forward.
What a waste of time, as what Senate President Coco Pimentel said. To me, it was a waste of people’s money. De Lima should be extra careful in her investigations, especially in presenting her witnesses. She must have proper directions in conducting the same. The Senate inquiry should be focused on what she wanted to come out in aid of legislation. The Senate is a collegial body, thus her personal motives could be easily discerned by her colleagues.
After that Senate inquiry where Matobato has testified, De Lima has put herself in a more despicable situation. She has jumped into a “quick sand” that will slowly swallow her into a deep abyss of desperation and frustration.And how about Matobato? No amount of lies could change the perspective that he was a “fake witness” who was “coached” to discredit the name of President Duterte.
(For comments and suggestions, email me at email@example.com. Visit my blog “The Roving Pen” at http://www.virgilmaganes.wordpress.com. Listen to my radio program “VIRGIL MAGANES SA DWPR” aired over DWPR Radyo Asenso, 1296 KHZ AM Band at 8:00-9:00 AM, Mondays to Saturdays.)
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