Senior Police Officer 3 (SPO3) Arturo Lascañas tagged President Rodrigo Duterte in extrajudicial killings and the alleged Davao Death Squad (DDS) when the latter was still mayor of Davao City during a press conference on Monday, February 20.
Lascañas, a self-tagged DDS hitman, retracted his previous statements during the Senate hearing on extrajudicial killing (EJK) October last year. He previously denied the allegations of Matobato and clears Duterte’s name in DDS.
Below is a summary of the allegations made by professed DDS leader Lascañas:
1. A reward per slay: DDS assassins received P20K to P100K per kill
According to Lascañas, assassins are allegedly paid P20,000-P100,000 by Duterte for every kill they carry out, depending on the target. The victims’ dead bodies are either buried or thrown in the sea.
2. DDS’s first mission: a deadly raid on the house of Tanco
Lascañas narrated that their first mission at the DDS was a deadly raid on the house of alleged drug lord Allan Tancho. He added that they planted a note saying “Huwag pamarisan”. The raid killed Tancho’s house helper.
3. Mosque bombings as retaliation from San Pedro Cathedral bombing
The self-confessed DDS leader said that they were involved in a series of mosque bombings in retaliation to the supposed involvement of several Muslims in the San Pedro Cathedral bombing. Lascañas echoed Matobato’s statement in the October senate hearing that the latter took part in the mosque bombings.
4. Pala’s Assasination was ordered by Duterte
The president, he said, ordered the assassination of journalist and known Duterte’s critic, Jun Pala.
“Galit na galit si Mayor Rody kay Jun Pala dahil sa palagi nitong atake araw-araw sa radio,” Lascaña narrated. He added that Duterte paid P2 million for the assassination and P500,000 for “operational funds.”
Lascañas said Pala survived 2 ambush attempts, but Duterte told his hitmen to “take their time” until the journalist was eventually slain.
5. Barsabal Murder
Duterte also allegedly ordered the abduction of Jun Barsabal, a religious leader from Samal Island, and his subsequent killing. Barsabal was accordingly brought to the City Mayor’s office, where Duterte ordered them to kill him.
A cop claimed responsibility for the killing with the promise that Duterte will take care of him, Lascañas said.
6. Death of 2 Lascañas
Lascañas said that he became an instruments in the death of his two brothers, Cecilio and Fernando, for their involvement in illegal drugs, out of “blind loyalty and obedience” to Duterte.
After his confessions, Lascañas said “Papatayin man ako, kuntento na ako na nagawa ko ang promise ko sa Diyos na magsagawa ng isang public confession.”
Malacañang has denied Lascañas’ allegations
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar claimed that as much as $1,000 was offered to members of the media as payment for covering the press conference of Lascañas. Senate journalists blast Andanar’s statement, demanding for public apology for the accusation of bribery.
Andanar said that the press conference of Lascañas “is a part of a protracted political drama aimed (at destroying) the President and to topple his administration”.
He added that it the “character assassination” against the president “is nothing but vicious politics orchestrated by sectors affected by the reforms initiated by the Duterte administration.”
Andanar said the Commission on Human Rights, the Office of the Ombudsman, and the Senate Committee on Justice already cleared the president of extrajudicial killings.
Gordon rejects possible Senate probe on Lascañas new allegations
Senator Richard Gordon on Monday said he will no longer launch a new probe into the fresh allegations of Lascañas on the DDS.
“He has already appeared before the Senate and he said the Davao [Death] Squad did not exist…and therefore why should I call the committee again? How would I know if he is telling the truth this time?” Gordon said in a phone interview on ANC’s “Top Story.”
“We are not gonna go back to the Senate and say ‘we are gonna investigate again’ just because he has said something and now he is saying another something,” he added.