The testimony of Edgar Matobato, on the Senate inquiry on extrajudicial killings, is to say the least very explosive.
With alleged first hand accounts on several summary killings ordered by then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Matobato claims to be a founding member of the shadowy vigilante group Davao Death Squad.
Matobato said he was a member of the Cafgu/Special Forces since 1982 before he was hired by the Davao City Government under the Civil Security Unit from 1988-2013.
He claimed that he was actually not working at the City Hall but was part of the Davao Death Squad who, he said, have killed more than a thousand people since 1988. Matobato said he personally shot and killed about 50 people when he was a DDS member.
In his testimony made before the Senate Committee on Justice chaired by former Human Rights Commissioner and Justice Secretary Senator Leila de Lima, Matobato claimed that no less than then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte ordered them to bomb several mosques immediately after the 1993 Davao Cathedral bombing.
NOGRALES BODYGUARDS ABDUCTION
Matobato said Duterte also ordered them to abduct four of the close-in security details of the mayor’s staunch political rival Prospero Nograles.
In a released statement, then House Speaker Prospero Nograles however denied Matobato’s accusation saying that he could not recall any of his security details having been abducted and killed.
Nograles said that he used Marine soldiers as security details when he was House Speaker and all of them were accounted for and still on active duty until now.
PAOLO DUTERTE KILL ORDERS
Aside from the mayor, Matobato said that Duterte’s son, Paolo, had also ordered them thrice to kill someone.
He remembered killing someone from Deca Homes in Mintal and one in Toril upon the instigation of the young Duterte.
The latest “kill order” made by Paolo Duterte was said to be the murder of billionaire businessman Richard King who, according to Matobato, was killed inside a McDonald’s joint.
King was however killed inside his Vita-C Building along Barrio Obrero, Davao City on June 12, 2014.
Matobato said King and Paolo were fighting over one girl who owns a franchise of MacDonalds located just beside the Vita-C building of King. The witness also identified the two assassins who killed King as Joel Tapales and Loloy Gabas.
Matobato said the two assassins were “double crossed” by them and were eventually liquidated somewhere in Cabantian, Buhangin here in Davao City.
Seven days after the King murder, Matobato said he was arrested and tortured by the Davao police under then DCPO director Vicente Danao Jr. He said he was also ordered to implicate Supt. Leonardo Felonia in the King murder case.
Matobato said he was then contemplating on retiring from his job as an assassin thus he was framed up for the King murder case.
Police investigation however showed no name of Matobato having been implicated in the murder of King. Felonia is indeed implicated as having ordered the King slay plot by no less than self-confessed gunman Paul Davel Labang and his cohorts Rodel and Rommel dela Cerna.
PAOLO DUTERTE DENIAL
In a released statement, Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte denied the accusation of Matobato whom he branded as a “madman”.
“What de Lima and this certain Matobato says in public are bare allegations and in the absence of proof are mere hearsay. I will not dignify with an answer the accusations of a madman,” the young Duterte said.
Matobato claimed that he used to be a close-in security of Paolo Duterte during his childhood days and that they used to wait for him outside Ateneo while Paolo was attending his classes.
People close to the Dutertes however said that the siblings never went to Ateneo. It was learned that the Duterte siblings attended classes at the Philippine Women’s College in Davao City from elementary to college where their mother was a teacher.
Paolo Duterte also denied having Matobato as his close-in bodyguard.
JUN PALA MURDER
In 2003, Matobato said then Mayor Duterte also ordered the killing of radio broadcaster Jun Pala. He said he was involved in the planning but not in the execution.
Matobato identified one SPO2 Jun Ayao as the triggerman who ambushed Jun Pala somewhere in Sasa, Davao City. It was learned though that Pala was ambushed near his residence in Empress Subdivision, Buhangin.
Matobato said the planning was done at their office in the Heinous Crimes Investigation Section supervised by one SPO4 Arthur Lascañas. Matobato described SPO4 Lascañas as Duterte’s right hand man in the Davao Death Squad while he was the most trusted man of Lascañas.
SISTER’s BF KILLED
In 2013, Matobato claimed that they were also ordered by Duterte to kill a dance instructor who is suspected by the mayor as a boyfriend of his youngest sister Jocelyn. He said they abducted the said DI along Jacinto Street and brought him to the Laud Quarry where he was executed and chopped into pieces before he was buried.
In an interview by Bombo Radyo Davao, Jocelyn Duterte however denied having any dance instructor boyfriend. She said she is mulling on filing libel charges against Matobato. She also criticized Senator de Lima for having not vetted accusations made by Matobato during the Senate inquiry.
DE LIMA KILL PLOT
Even Senator de Lima was ordered to be killed by Duterte, according to Matobato. He said that when then CHR head de Lima conducted an inquiry inside the Laud Quarry back in 2009, Matobato and his cohorts were already preparing to ambush de Lima just above the hill where de Lima and his team were exhuming alleged victims of summary killings.
Matobato said that luckily the team of de Lima did not pushed on to the upper section of the hill where armed men were waiting to do the ambush.
NBI AGENT OVERKILL
In 1993, Matobato said that Duterte also finished off a dying NBI agent he identified as Jamisola somewhere in Tulip Drive, Matina after an altercation with Matobato’s team. He claimed that Jamisola sustained several gunshot wounds and was barely breathing when Duterte arrived at the scene and pumped two more magazines of Uzi submachine gun into the NBI agent’s body.
Matobato said Jamisola sustained about 200 bullet wounds from the shooting incident. The incident, he said, caused a rift between the NBI and the Davao police that time.
It was learned though that the shooting incident happened in Flores Village, Bangkal and that the NBI agent was one Vicente Jamisola, a driver of then NBI director Eufronio Hernandez.
The Davao police operatives were then operating in the area to secure the release of an abducted child when they got into an altercation with Jamisola.
Matobato said that Duterte also ordered several other killings against suspected terrorists and criminals.
He recalled abducting a foreign terror suspect identified as Salih Mahkdoom whom they also killed later on.
A fixer in the Land Transportation Office was also abducted by Matobato’s group and killed and thrown at the San Rafael Village back in 2013. He said they made it appear that the victim was a holdupper.
In 2007, Matobato said they also had a joint operation with National Bureau of Investigation director Dante Gierran in Sarangani.
He said that instead of bringing the suspect to Davao City, they brought him to a farm in Kapatagan, Davao del Sur and fed the suspect to the crocodiles.
In 1993, one Jun Barsabal of the Remnant Family of God was also ordered killed by Duterte and three other mayors in the region for landgrabbing.
Matobato said mayor Orencia, Antalan and Obenza and one Philip Go, a logger, pooled their money together with Duterte to finance the murder of Barsabal.
Matobato said that the DDS now number to about 300 since he left the group in 2014.
He said that aside from the Laud Quarry where they usually bury their victims, they also use the adjacent property owned by the Gaisanos where about 100 bodies are already buried.
He said that they also have the habit of throwing their victims in the Davao Gulf. Matobato said they usually tie three hollowblocks to the victim’s body and slash the abdomen open before throwing the victim to the open sea.
He said there was one instance when a fisherman discovered the body of one of their victims and he was accused by the police as one of the respondents since he was identified as the caretaker of the nearby property where the body was discovered.