The family of murdered hotelier Richard King yesterday decried alleged attempts by Sen. Leila M. de Lima to ride on the already solved slaying in a bid to smear the name of President Duterte, their former lawyer claimed yesterday.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez chided De Lima for failing to act on the information fed by Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed member of the Davao Death Squad, who surfaced during her term as Justice Secretary.
Matobato surfaced a few years ago to spill the beans on the alleged involvement of the Chief Executive and the Davao Death Squad but his testimony was not used to prosecute the then Davao City Mayor and his alleged cohorts.
Kabayan partylist Rep. Harry Roque, who was hired to represent the King family in prosecuting the murder case, said the family “is appalled by the gall of Sen. Leila de Lima in dragging the death of the Crown Regency owner in her attempt” to demolish Duterte’s credibility.
While it was Matobato who raised the King murder during the hearing, Roque claimed that the victim’s family aired their resentment at De Lima.
Roque and the King family were apparently convinced that Supt. Leonardo Feloria was King’s real killer.
“The family of Richard King has already undergone enough trauma with his death. They are now being subjected to undue emotion distress because of the vain desire of Sen. de Lima to discredit the President,” said Roque in behalf of the family of the slain businessman.
He also said the King family has belied claims by Matobato that a love triangle between King and incumbent Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, son of the President, was the motive in the gun attack that took place in 2014 in Davao City.
Putting his foot down, Senate President Koko Pimentel said yesterday he intends to run the 24-member Senate based on rules.
Pimentel issued the statement after De Lima, chairperson of the Senate Justice and Human Rights Committee, and Sen. Antonio F. Trillanes IV questioned the logic behind his decision denying the De Lima committee’s recommendation to have its star witness, Matobato, secured by the Office of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms.
“I’ve denied the request for protective custody of witness Edgar Matobato because there is no Senate rule to justify it,” Pimentel said.
“There’s even no showing that his (Matobato’s) life is or safety is threatened. Worse, the witness’s testimony is not even relevant to the resolution (of De Lima seeking a Senate inquiry on recent summary or extra-judicial killings) being investigated,’’ he added.
Former House Speaker Prospero Nograles described as a big lie the allegations made by Matobato that their group had killed a security personnel assigned with him on orders of then Davao City Mayor Duterte.
Nograles said he could not remember an incident in which his security escort was abducted and subsequently executed.
Nograles said Matobato was lying and obviously commissioned to demolish Duterte.
(Yas D. Ocampo, Mario B. Casayuran, Joseph Jubelag, and Ben Rosario)