DOJ mulls filing of perjury, murder raps vs Lascanas

MANILA-- Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Tuesday said the agency is eyeing to file to file perjury and murder charges against retired SPO3 Arthur Lascanas after he reversed his earlier statement and accused President Rodrigo Duterte of being the mastermind behind the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS) who was responsible for extrajudicial killings when he was still mayor of Davao City.

But Aguirre said for such a case to prosper, they should have to first secure a copy of Lascanas' sworn statement on his "contradictory allegations."

He cited the case of self-confessed DDS member Edgar Matobato who last year admitted shooting a former official of the Department of Agrarian Reform in Digos City sometimes in October 2014.

"We will investigate this, his (Lascanas) admissions of his killings and file charges against him just like what happened to Matobato," Aguirre said.

He said the charges could range from perjury for his contradictory claims and murder for the killings he admitted carrying out.

On Monday, Aguirre said that the LascaAas' statement only seeks to divert public attention from the drug charges filed against Senator Leila De Lima.

Aguirre also said the move is also aimed at luring people to attend the commemmoration of the 31st anniversary of the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution.

"This is diversionary tactic to deflect the seriousness of the crimes committed by De Lima. This is calculated to orchestrate their call for warm bodies to attend the EDSA Anniversary,' Aguirre said.

De Lima is facing three counts of drug charges before the Muntinlupa City regional trial court (RTC) in connection to her alleged involvement in the proliferation of illegal drugs at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

"I do not know LascaAas. His testimony is a turnaround from his previous testimony at the Senate. He could be another Matobato as he was presented by Trillanes," Aguirre said.

Contrary to his earlier statement, LascaAas said his conscience led him to allegedly tell the truth and back the claim of self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato stating that the group was real.

In a Senate inquiry into extrajudicial killings held on Sept. 15, 2016, it was Matobato who allegedly claimed that the DDS was formed when Pres. Rodrigo Duterte was still Davao City Mayor.

Matobato earlier said the group was allegedly responsible for extrajudicial killings in Davao City from 1988 to 2013. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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