Friday, September 16, 2016

A lone witness from the wilderness

Fiesty Philippine President Rody "Digong" Duterte just kept mum 
Former DDS hitman Edgar Matobato
answers questions at the
Senate public hearing.
on the allegations of a former member of the Davao Death Squad
 (DDS) that he ordered the killing of at least 1000 victims while Duterte served as mayor of Davao City.

His silence on the accusations of a certain Edgar Matobato, a former DDS hitman who got his wages as part of the ghost employees of the Davao City hall,  can be misconstrued as a kind of recollection if he indeed was involved in such killings? 

Unlike in the previous occasions, President Duterte has a habit of cursing and mouthing bad words when confronted in public, a trademark which no longer surprise a lot of his supporters and cabinet officials. "That's his character," one of the cabinet officials said.

Or it could be that President Duterte is thinking something else?

With Koko Pimentel's denial of providing protective custody to Matobato by the Senate chamber, there is danger that the witness could be a "deadman walking." Matobato can't be put under the protective custody of the Department of Justice (DOJ), knowing that Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre is an appointee and ally of President Duterte.

Perhaps, the only remaining option for Matobato, or the officials who are behind the coming out of the lone witness, is to temporarily remand him to the custody of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). As an independent constitutional body, CHR can take custody of Matobato for a while. Until such time that Senator Leila de Lima can find a way to keep this witness secure somewhere.

But who is really behind Matobato's coming out in the open? Even if Matobato barely finished elementary grades, he could sense the gravity of the situation where he's in right now. And it is not easy and simple thing to accuse the leader of the land, who is notorious for being tough on crimes and illegal drugs, for ordering the unwanted killings of individuals in Mindanao. Matobato knew in advance that he is no longer safe now.

Simply said, a lot of uncanny things may happen to him if he ventures outside without bodyguards. But worse comes to worst, his only retrieve is to seek political asylum somewhere else. That he can decide for himself if is given the option to jump into the fenced off area of any foreign embassies of his own choice. 

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