Lascanas doesn’t wish for Duterte’s ouster

April 20, 2017 - 12:56 PM
Arturo Lascanas in Singapore (photo by Mae Anne Los Banos, News5)

SINGAPORE — Arturo Lascanas, the former policeman and self-described hitman of the “Davao Death Squad,” said he has no wish to see President Rodrigo Duterte unseated because he still considers the chief executive, who he accused of ordering hundreds of killings, a “friend.”

And while still unsure of returning to the country anytime soon because of threats to his life, Lascanas nevertheless he would be willing to go home and testify should the impeachment complaint against Duterte go to trial at the Senate should his legal team ask him to.

Interviewed by News5 in his safe house in Singapore, Lascanas acknowledged that his movements are limited but reiterated that he chose to leave the Philippines because his life is in danger.

He said they had received information that his safe house in Metro Manila had been located by his former comrades in the Davao Death Squad led by another retired policeman, Sonny Buenaventura, who Lascanas earlier described as a driver and bodyguard of Duterte when he was still mayor of Davao City.

Thus, although information News5 received from the Bureau of Immigration showed Lascanas has a return ticket for April 22, he said he is likely to remain in Singapore past that date. He also could not say if he would move to another country from Singapore.

Lascanas also said he is willing to testify before the International Criminal Court should a case be filed against Duterte there for the hundreds of executions he allegedly ordered when he was Davao mayor.

There have also been suggestions the ICC should prosecute Duterte for the thousands of lives lost in the course of the “war on drugs” his administration is waging.

Asked why he finally chose to come clean when last year he was calling the Davao Death Squad a “myth,” Lascanas said he did not want to take the secret of his crimes with him to his grave and also because he wanted the killings to end.

He said he had no regrets about opening up “para hindi na ito maulit at saka malaman ng marami na Filipino na talagang totoo ito. Hindi na ito maulit sa mga susunod na henerasyon lalo na sa mga katulad o na pulis na involved sa (so this does not happen again and so Filipinos know the truth. So this is not repeated by succeeding generations especially by policemen like me who are involved in) EJKs (extrajudicial killings), summary executions in the campaign against criminality.”

“I think it’s worth it na malaman ng lahat (that everyone knows),” he added.

Appearing before the Senate in early March, Lascanas claimed he participated in as many as 200 murders.

The self-confessed hitman had a curt message for Duterte: “May Diyos (There is a God).”