Matobato is holding out
It doesn't look like Edgar Matobato, the whistleblower on President Rodrigo Duterte, is going away. He's prepared to hang for his crime, he maintains, but Duterte should go first.
Matobato remains in hiding, but he has made himself secretly accessible to news hounds. Most recently he gave interviews to the American network CNN and the Philippine Daily Inquirer, but mostly he only retold his story: He had been an assassin, notching around 50 kills, in a death squad for Rodrigo Duterte when he was mayor of Davao City; after deciding to quit, he was picked up and tortured, but he managed to escape; he began to be processed for state-witness protection, but, when Duterte became president, he preferred Church to state sanctuary.
The only thing new that I noted in his retelling to the Inquirer was that Duterte actually had had 8 kills on his own, and the only common piece of detail he recalled was that all 8 had been shot while seated, helpless, execution-fashion.
In the first telling, at a senate hearing, he had spoken of only one Duterte kill he witnessed. Unlike the other 7, it had been well detailed, and that may have to do with its memorable circumstances.
The victim, by Matobato's account, was an agent of the National Bureau of Investigation who, captured wounded after shooting it out with the death squad, was finished off by Duterte.
Matobato’s testimony at the senate was cut short in October after a single appearance, on some technicality at first – supposedly he had left the hearing before he was properly dismissed – and, more determinedly later, for being an unworthy witness, the same reason that the chairman of the hearing committee, Sen. Richard Gordon, and a member, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, now gave when asked for comment on Matobato's Inquirer interview.
The “inconsistencies” in Matobato’s senate testimony “were ridiculous,” said Attorney Gordon, trying to justify his committee’s decision to stop listening to Matobato. “If I presented him as a witness, I’d be the laughingstock of the courtroom. I don’t want the senate to be the laughingstock of the nation.”
Lacson agreed that Matobato had “a serious credibility problem,” and suspected that CNN had been put onto him by his manipulators.
Actually Gordon and Lacson don’t come out very reliable themselves. At some point during the hearing Gordon was caught himself not paying attention. Beginning to rebuke Motabato for supposedly withholding a critical piece of information, he was shown the minutes of the
hearing, thus proved wrong.
And Lacson, self-importantly insisting that an office he had once headed had disappeared after him to show Matobato mistaken to have found himself in it, was revealed as the one in fact mistaken.
Here are two senators of the republic unable to go past a witness who appears without a counsel and tells his story without a prompter or notes – he can neither read nor write.
I would not be surprised if CNN and the Inquirer (and possibly other media organizations I fail to credit here through no default but my own) decided to revisit Matobato because they thought he had got a bad deal, not only from Gordon and Lacson and their committee, but from their entire house; the senate is a Duterte-dominated Upper House, and so is the Lower House of Congress.
Apparently the Inquirer did not ask Sen. Manny Paquiao for his own, comment; if it had done so he’d have spoken for the whole senate majority, being its designated parrot.
By its own nature, Matobato’s story is precisely the sort that bears repeating as new circumstances arise and inform it or provide a new or added context to it, thus lending it increased credibility.
President Duterte’s autocratic words and ways tend themselves to validate the character of the boss mayor Matobato has described. And the challenge Duterte brings to the rule of law by the brutal manner in which he has been pursuing his war on drugs is a running case in point; it has claimed the lives of 6,000 drug dealers and addicts and provoked suspicions of summary executions.
But no instance has been more self-incriminating, and jolting, than Duterte’s admission that, indeed, he has himself killed 3 people.
Five more kills, and that would exactly match the score Matobato kept. – Rappler.com