Aguirre orders NBI to work with Interpol to track, nab Lascañas

June 13, 2017 - 9:50 AM
Former policeman Arturo Lascañas in Singapore (News5 file photo)

MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE – 11:11 a.m.) Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation to work with the International Criminal Police Organization, or Interpol, to track down and apprehend former policeman Arturo Lascañas, the self-described member of the Davao Death Squad.

“In the interest of the service and pursuant to the provisions of existing laws, you are hereby directed to coordinate with the International Police Organization (sic) or Interpol to gather information on the location and whereabouts of Arturo lascnas and to coordinate with the proper authorities for his apprehension,” Aguirre said in the June 8 memorandum to NBI director Dante Gierran.

Reacting to Aguirre’s order, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said it proved Lascañas and Matobato were telling the truth.

Ito ay maliwanag na pangiipit sa mga magtetestigo laban kay Duterte. Inuna na nila inipit si Matobato, ngayon naman ay si Lascañas. Kaya patunay rin ito na nagsasabi ng totoo silang dalawa (This is clear persecution of witnesses against Duterte. They persecuted Matbato first, now it is Lascañas’ turn. So this is proof that the two are telling the truth).”

Lascañas fled the country in early April and was last known to be in Singapore following his testimony before the Senate in which he admitted being a key member of the death squad purportedly created by President Rodrigo Duterte when he was still mayor of Davao City.

The retired policeman’s testimony in February — in which he detailed how they would plan and carry out hits, mostly on Duterte’s orders, including the September 2003 murder of broadcaster Juan “Jun” Pala — was a complete turnaround from his previous statements before the Senate, in which he denied the death squad’s existence and the testimony of another self-confessed DDS member, Edgar Matobato.

In May, the Davao City prosecutor’s office approved the filing of murder and frustrated murder charges against Lascañas for the Pala killing based on his own admission before the Senate. The charges have been raffled to a trial court in the southern city. (with a report from Mae Anne Los Banos, News5)