File photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler
DAVAO CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – A regional trial court (RTC) judge issued a warrant of arrest against self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato in connection with the kidnapping of an alleged terrorist in 2002.
Panabo City RTC Branch 4 Judge Dorothy Montejo-Gonzaga issued the warrant against Matobato on Monday, March 27, based on a case filed by the wife of kidnap victim Sali Makdum against him and a certain Sonny Custodio.
"You are hereby commanded to arrest Edgar Matobato and Sonny Custodio who can be found in Km 12 Sasa, Davao City and Brgy Peñaplata, Island Garden City of Samal," Gonzaga directed the police in the arrest warrant.
"No bail bond is recommended for the provisional liberty of each accused," she added.
The wife of Makdum, an alleged international terrorist, had earlier filed a kidnapping case against Matobato before the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). Matobato admitted the kidnap case against him when he testified at the Senate hearing in September last year.
In his sworn statement submitted to the Senate committee on justice and human rights last year, Matobato said Makdum was a suspect in bombings in Kidapawan and elsewhere. Makdum was "arrested" and then killed by the Davao Death Squad in 2002.
In an affidavit submitted to the NBI in 2014, Matobato identified Makdum as a "Pakistani" who entered the Philippines through the backdoor via Malaysia. Matobato also said Makdum's girlfriend was a cousin of his wife.
Matobato also claimed that Makdum asked him to purchase "100 units of Garand rifles, 50 M14 rifles, and 100 armalite rifles."
Makdum's mother-in-law Lydia Marquez, however, clarified that Makdum was Turkish, not Pakistani. She also said Makdum was abducted, not arrested, during a meeting with Matobato in his favorite eatery in Davao City.
Several arrest warrants have been filed against Matobato since he appeared in last year's Senate hearing on extrajudicial killings, where he confirmed the existence of the Davao Death Squad and accused President Rodrigo Duterte of ordering the group to kill crime suspects and his personal enemies when he was Davao City mayor.
The latest arrest warrant, however, was for a non-bailable offense.
On March 6, an arrest warrant was issued against Matobato for a frustrated murder case filed by retired agrarian reform adjudicator Abeto Salcedo Jr. He surrendered to Manila police and posted a P200,000-bail with the Manila RTC on March 9. – Rappler.com