Senate’s duty to investigate Lascañas’ claims – Bam

Marvin Sy (The Philippine Star) - March 5, 2017 - 11:00pm

MANILA, Philippines -  The Senate has the obligation to investigate the claims made by retired police officer Arthur Lascañas against President Duterte and find out the truth about the existence of the so-called Davao death squad (DDS), Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV said yesterday.

By listening to what Lascañas has to say before the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs in the hearing tomorrow, Aquino said the Senate would demonstrate that it is still independent of the executive branch.

“The Senate should not shirk from pursuing the truth. The people must know the whole truth in this issue,” he said.

Aquino, recently designated as deputy minority leader of the Senate, was among 10 senators who voted to allow Lascañas to testify anew at the Senate in a new hearing on the DDS issue.

Lascañas previously appeared before the Senate in the inquiry of the committee on justice and human rights last year regarding the alleged extrajudicial killings taking place in the country.

In his testimony last year, Lascañas denied the existence of the DDS, saying that it was mere media hype.

He recently reemerged, this time claiming that he was part of the DDS that carried out several killings on orders of Duterte when he was mayor of Davao City.

“These are heavy allegations against the President and it is our duty as an independent body to investigate,” Aquino said.

He said he also wants to find out the reason Lascañas changed his story and is now admitting to committing several crimes.

Being charged with perjury should be the least of Lascañas’ worries, Aquino said, following his admission of personally committing several murders.

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who facilitated the recent press conference of Lascañas, said the former Davao City policeman has a lot more to reveal than the selected cases he mentioned in his affidavit.

In tomorrow’s hearing, Trillanes said Lascañas will talk about his background and that of the DDS.

Trillanes maintained Lascañas was not motivated by anything other than his conscience when he decided to retract his previous statements.

He said the claim that Lascañas was offered money to testify against the President was illogical because no amount of money would be worth the risk he has put himself into.

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