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Lascanas: No such thing as Davao Death Squad

SPO3 Arthur Lascanas refuted Matobato's statements during the fifth Senate Hearing on extrajudicial killings. AP/Aaron Favila, file photo

MANILA, Philippines - SPO3 Arthur Lascanas, alleged team leader of the supposed Davao Death Squad vigilante group denied Monday that he was part of the group, which he said does not even exist.

In previous hearings of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, confessed hitman Edgar Matobato testified that Lascanas relayed orders from then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to the gorup, which he said was originally called the "Lambada Boys".

Lascanas however, denied the existence of the DDS and the Lambada Boys.

"Wala pong Davao Death Squad, your honor. Media hype lang yan." Lascanas said. Duterte, who admitted then retracted his admission of having links to the DDS, has said that the alleged vigilante killings in Davao City had been blamed on him by political rivals.

Philippine National Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa has also said that the the moniker Davao Death Squad was a creation of local media. 

De Lima however, stated that several of Matobato's statements match Lascanas', particularly on former Mayor Roger Antalan.

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De Lima also stated that according to Matobato, he and Lascanas were close friends for 23 years, which Lascanas denied.

"May point din na sinabi niya na nagsama kami for more than 23 years. Since 1988 up to 2013. Hindi po totoo yun." Lascanas stated.

According to him, he was AWOL (absence without leave) in 1988, and was reinstated in 1989. He added he was studying law at the University of Mindanao between 1991 and 1995.

Lascanas also said he was only close to Matobato because of several land dealings.

When asked by Senator Manuel Pacquiao, which part of all Matobato's statements is true, Lascanas answered "pangalan lang siguro niya, your honor."

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