DAVAO CITY, Philippines — A retired police officer and self-confessed hit man of the alleged Davao Death Squad tagged the Presidential son and Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte in “protecting” a suspected man involved in drugs.
During the Senate hearing Monday, retired police officer Arturo Lascañas said sometime in the late quarter of 2013 or 2014 the Vice Mayor asked him for help about his container van from China. He said he was connected with the vice mayor as brothers in the Freemasonry.
“Nagpatulong siya ng kanyang container van galing China. Bumili siya ng kanyang mga personal effects kagaya ng mga furniture dahil gamitin niya sa kanyang, inauguration ng kanyang bagong bahay… ay nadelay. Nagpahanap siya sa akin ng broker, may ni-rekomenda akong broker,” he said.
(He asked me to help with his container van from China which got delayed. He bought personal effects like furniture to use for the inauguration of his new house. He asked me to find him a broker, I recommended him one.)
He said the shipment was delayed for three to four months already.
He said the Vice Mayor called for him and told him that he met one “Mr. Charlie Tan”. Lascañas said Duterte told him that Tan had asked him to include his “souvenirs” in his 40-footer container van.
“He agreed,” Lascañas said about Duterte’s accepting Tan’s request.
Lascañas said the shipment got delayed for a longer time and he said the Vice Mayor told him that Tan had included drugs, particularly shabu, in the shipment.
“Nung nadelayed na ito ng husto, meron siyang sinabi sa akin na 100 percent siya binalahan ni Charlie Tan ng illegal drugs, particularly shabu, ang kanyang van,” Lascanas said.
(When the shipment got delayed, he told me that he is 100 percent sure that Charlie Tan put illegal drugs, particularly shabu, in his van.)
He said he and Duterte agreed that once the van arrived in Davao, Lascañas will escort it going to the barangay hall in Catalunan Grande.
“At pag-open nito kung may laman, hulihin mo si Charlie Tan. Ang sabi ko sa kanya, ‘tama’. So nag-agree ako,” he said.
(If upon opening it, there are drugs, arrest Charlie Tan. And I told him ‘right’. So I agreed)
It took several more months before the van arrived. Lascañas said they followed the van. But before they reached the barangay hall, Lascanas said the vice mayor called him up and told him: “Arbor ko na lang ni, Bro. Ako na bahala kay Charlie (Let me handle this one, Bro. I’ll take care of Charlie).”
Lascañas said this made him think about his two brothers whom he reported to the police because of their involvement in drugs. The two were killed because of his, loyalty to the campaign against drugs, he said.
“Dito nagkaroon ako ng maraming iniisip. Siguro kung hindi ako gumawa ng isang maling judgment call sa mga kapatid ko, kung inarbor ko mga kapatid ko, baka buhay pa ngayon, nakakulong lang (It was then when I had thought of so many things. Maybe if I didn’t make a wrong judgment call for my brothers, if I too vouched fo them, they might still be alive today, just in prison),” he said
But Lascañas admitted that he did not see for himself the contents of the container van. He said this still gave him hard feelings towards what happened.
“Pwede palang mamili. Samantalang ako, nakalubog ang dalawang paa ko sa impiyerno dahil sa pag-enforce ko sa campaign ni Mayor Rody sa illegal drugs,” he said.
(There was an option to choose. But my two feet are already in hell because of my enforcement of the campaign of Mayor Rody (Duterte) against illegal drugs.)
He said this was the last time he dealt with the President’s oldest son.
Vice Mayor Duterte in a statement dismissed Lascañas’ allegations as a political attack backed by Senator Antonio Trillanes who is trying to besmirch President Duterte.
“No less than retired SPO3 Lascañas admitted that he sought the help of Trillanes in recanting from his earlier Senate testimony. This only shows that Trillanes is behind the latest Lascañas testimony that not only dragged the name of President Duterte in the summary killings but also tried in vain to include me and my friend in the illegal drug trade,” the vice mayor said.
He said: “Trillanes is now desperate in bringing down my father that he would move heaven and earth just to pin us down in these made up accusations. Trillanes is making money in this circus because his political career is already at a dead end.”
Lascañas appeared before the Senate hearing which probe the alleged Davao Death Squad and its hand in the killings of criminals in Davao City. Lascañas has denied the existence DDS during his testimony in October 2016.
But after four months, Lascañas appeared on February 20 at a press conference admitting that he is involved with the DDS. (davaotoday.com)