Trillanes defends Matobato at senate hearing


MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Antonio Trillanes defended on Friday statements of confessed hired gun Edgar Matobato at the Senate hearing on drug-related killings.

Trillanes suggested that Matobato is not necessarily lying in his testimony on his involvement in a death squad, which President Rodrigo Duterte supposedly founded in 1988 when he was elected mayor of Davao City.

“The inconsistencies, if any, were trivial as shown by the transcript,” Trillanes said.

“And, despite the badgering, Matobato was consistent about the events and other details he was sure about,” Trillanes added.

His statement came after his colleagues, Sens. Panfilo Lacson, Alan Peter Cayetano and Richard Gordon, tried to discredit the witness at the public inquiry of the Senate justice panel.

Matobato on Thursday appeared anew at the fourth session of the Senate investigation, after Sen. Leila de Lima’s chairmanship has been revoked by the Senate. Matobato has claimed that Duterte ordered thousands of suspected criminals in Davao City during his tenure as mayor of 22 years.

During his first appearance last week, Matobato categorically said Duterte ordered the death o falleged terrorist Sali Makdum. Upon Cayetano’s examination on Thurday, however, Matobato said it was a certain police officer Arthur Lascañas who ordered the killing, though he was not sure who ordered Lascañas.

At the hearing, Lacson doubted Matobato’s credibility due to inconsistencies in his statements. Sen. Manny Pacquiao also told Matobato that if his testimony is inconsistent, he would not be believable.

Trillanes, meanwhile, also noted that there is a language and educational barrier between the senators and the witness.

“And a few of my colleagues took advantage of that,” Trillanes said.

– Philstar