- Sen. Panfilo Lacson said Sen. Gordon should have listened to CHR witnesses
- In stating this, Lacson noted he is open to the resumption of the probe
- Reopening of probe, he said, must happen in a condition that another witness or piece of evidence can corroborate Edgar Matobato’s claims
When asked about the hearings on the extrajudicial killings linked to the Duterte administration’s war on drugs, Senator Panfilo Lacson, vice chairman of the committee on justice and human rights, said the witnesses under the custody of Commission on Human Rights (CHR) should have been allowed to testify during the final hearing.
“Well, kulang pa rin, ‘di napayagan victims ng CHR. Sa akin I was actually, I was requesting Chairman Gordon, why don’t we just allow them to present just to get it over with,” Lacson was quoted saying in an article written by Camille Elemia on Rappler.
[Well it’s still not enough, the victims of the CHR weren’t allowed to testify. Me, I was actually requesting Chairman Gordon, why don’t we just allow them to present just to get it over with.]
In stating this, Lacson, who is the chair of the committee on public order, the secondary panel handling the issue, disclosed he is open to the resumption of the probe, but only if another witness or piece of evidence can corroborate Edgar Matobato’s claims.
Earlier, Senator Richard Gordon, committee chair, had barred the witnesses from testifying after a CHR commissioner called him a “coward.” Despite being the main subject of the criticism, he then wanted the CHR to apologize to the Senate, as an institution.
Offering no apology, Gordon refused to acknowledge the witnesses.
As such, Senator Leila De Lima opposed Gordon’s move but eventually lost to the chairman.
Expressing sense of disgust on what happened, Lacson said Gordon appeared to have been “caught in the moment” when he stood his ground against allowing the CHR witnesses to testify at the last hearing last October 13.
However, Lacson said in jest that Gordon was very passionate being caught in the moment as he added that he no longer insisted his idea to avoid a three-cornered fight.
Furthermore, Lacson stressed that while he agrees with the committee’s initial findings favoring President Rodrigo Duterte, he pointed out that he is still open to the possible resumption of the probe under a condition that a witness can corroborate the testimony of Edgar Matobato.
Meanwhile, Lacson is expecting heated debates on the floor with the minority bloc to submit its own report on the killings. Members of the bloc include Minority Leader Ralph Recto and senators Francis Escudero and Antonio Trillanes IV, a known critic of Duterte.