- President Rodrigo Duterte says that the lies behind witness Edgar Matobato’s statements can lead to crime
- This is the first time the President reacted to the serious allegations thrown at him during the Senate hearing last week
- However, he did not respond directly to these allegations
President Rodrigo Duterte finally issued a response to the heavy allegations thrown at him by a self-confessed member of the infamous Davao Death Squad during a Senate hearing last week.
“If you know it’s a lie and you egg a person to testify, you are an active participant. ‘Sige, sige mag-testify ka’ [Go ahead, testify] – that is subordination of perjury,” Duterte said; most likely referring to Senator Leila de Lima. He did not defend himself, however.
De Lima, then head of the Senate Committee on Justice, presented key witness Edgar Matobato who claims that he is a member of the Davao Death Squad during the Senate hearing on extrajudicial killings last week.
Matobato hurled serious allegations against the President. He said in detail how Duterte allegedly ordered the killings of several people in Davao City when he was mayor. He also stated that he directed the planned ambush for de Lima, who was at the time the chairperson of the human rights commission. Matobato also linked Davao City Mayor and presidential son Paolo Duterte to drugs and the death of businessman Richard King.
The hearing drew tension in the Senate as Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, Duterte’s running mate in the recent polls, staunchly defended the president. He slammed Matobato for operating with de Lima and other Liberal Party (LP) allies in the Senate to build evidence in order to impeach the President.
LP has since denied the allegation.
On Monday, de Lima was ousted as chairperson of the justice committee with a vote of 16-4.
Senator Manny Pacquiao moved for her ouster; saying that the committee should not only serve the interest of one person.
De Lima blamed the President, and mentioned how many his allies in the Senate are.
Duterte, meanwhile, said he will not meddle with the issues of an independent branch of government.