Of all people, Lacson should understand why I left PH – Lascañas

Camille Elemia
Of all people, Lacson should understand why I left PH – Lascañas
In a statement, the self-confessed Davao Death Squad leader reminds Senator Lacson that he was once a fugitive

MANILA, Philippines – In response to Senator Panfilo Lacson, self-confessed Davao Death Squad (DDS) member and retired policeman Arturo “Arthur” Lascañas said the senator, of all people, should understand his situation.

Lascañas, who fled the country on Saturday, April 8, for what he told the Inquirer was for security reasons, was reacting to Lacson’s question on who funded his and his family’s trip to Singapore.

“Sa lahat ng tao, si Senator Lacson dapat ang pinakamakakaunawa sa aking kalagayan. Hinanap siya ng awtoridad at umalis siya dahil sa pangamba sa kanyang safety,” Lascañas said in a statement forwarded by the camp of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

(Of all people, it should be Senator Lacson who would understand my situation. He was hunted down by authorities and he left because of fears for his safety.)

Lacson, then among the political enemies of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, left the Philippines in the wake of revived charges against him, spending more than a year in hiding. He was implicated in the murder of publicist Salvador Dacer and driver Emmanuel Corbito. Lacson returned to the country in 2011, under the administration of Benigno Aquino III, a political ally.

“Marami din ang naniwala sa kanya na tama ang kanyang ginagawa kaya maraming tumulong sa kanyang pag-alis. Ganun din sa akin. Maraming naniniwala at nagmamalasakit kaya nila ako tinutulungan,” Lascañas said.

(There were many who believed in him, that’s why a lot of people helped him leave. It’s the same with me. Many people believe me that’s why they are helping me.)

Lascañas did not name the people who helped him fly to Singapore. The immigration bureau said he was able to leave because there is no hold departure order against him.

Lacson ‘understands’ Lascañas’ predicament

The senator, in response, said he “understands” the situation of the retired cop, adding he is not questioning the latter’s decision to flee the country.

“Of course I understand [former] SPO3 Lascañas’ predicament and I am not blaming or criticizing his decision to leave the country. Anybody who feels persecuted and physically threatened is entitled to make a personal decision on self-preservation,” the senator said in a message.

“I refused to give my enemies and detractors the pleasure of seeing me behind bars even for a second for a crime I did not commit. I will never regret that decision. I thought it was the right decision to make given the circumstances at that time. If Lascañas feels the same, so be it,” he added.

Lacson also said he questioned who Lascañas’ funders are in light of the “obvious” destabilization plot against President Rodrigo Duterte.

“If I asked which group is financing his and his family’s trip and accommodations in an expensive place like Singapore, it was in the context of obvious destabilization efforts against President Duterte since nobody seems to admit being involved in the scheme,” he said.

Lacson, who headed the one-day probe into Lascañas’ testimony last March 6, also said the Senate committee on public order would recommend perjury charges against the self-confessed DDS leader for retracting his earlier testimony before the chamber. – Rappler.com

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com