MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson wants to know who paid for the trip of self-confessed Davao Death Squad (DDS) member and former policeman Arturo "Arthur" Lascañas to Singapore.
Lascañas, who earlier accused President Rodrigo Duterte of ordering killings in Davao City through the Davao Death Squad (DDS), left the Philippines last Saturday, April 8, citing security reasons. His family flew a month ahead of him, Lacson said.
"His family had left for Singapore even before he testified at the Senate hearing, so that could be his personal reason for leaving. It may be worth to find out who spent for his and his family's trips and accommodations in Singapore which is an expensive place to stay," said Lacson, who also left the country to avoid persecution during the Arroyo administration.
"Contrary to reports that he left quietly, I don't see that since he allowed himself to be accompanied by a news reporter. Anyway, that will also be mentioned in the committee report that we are drafting which will be reported out in the plenary after we resume session on May 2," the senator added.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III questioned why Lascañas, who is set to face serious charges, was able to leave.
"Daming kaso nun ah! Bakit nakaalis? (There are many charges against him! Why was he able to leave the country?)" Sotto said in a text message.
Asked who should be held liable, he said: "I don't know."
"It's not the guilt that worries me, he admits the guilt. It's the avoidance of confrontation when faced with his two testimonies that raises an eyebrow; three if you count the media statements that differ from the rest," Sotto added.
The Bureau of Immigration (BI) confirmed that Lascañas flew to Singapore on Saturday, with BI Spokesperson Antonette Mangrobang saying there is no lookout bulletin or hold departure order for the retired Davao City cop. (WATCH: Rappler Talk Investigative: Arturo Lascañas, Duterte loyalist no more)
"Mr Lascañas did not have any immigration lookout bulletin order or hold departure order issued against him that could have delayed or prevented his departure. Hence, he was cleared to depart on board Tiger Airways flight to Singapore," Mangrobang said.
The former Davao City policeman had initially denied the existence of the DDS, but said in the March 6 hearing that he had only been forced to lie. (READ: Lascañas affidavit: Grisly stories 'just tip of bloody iceberg') – Rappler.com