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Lascanas fails to return

Retired SPO3 Arthur Lascanas, who had denied the existence of the Davao Death Squad during the Senate inquiry last year but later recanted his testimony and even implicated President Duterte and his son in the killings, failed to return to the country last Saturday.

Records of the Bureau of Immigration showed that Lascanas left the country with his family members last April 8 for Singapore but there were no records in any airports that Lascanas returned.

The BI said that Lascanas’ return last April 22 was indicated in his plane ticket.

“There’s no record of the arrival of Mr. Lascanas on Saturday (April 22),” BI spokesperson Ma. Antonette Mangrobang said in a text message after checking with immigration database.

Earlier in a television interview, Lascanas had revealed that he had been receiving threats and he feared for his life and those of the members of his family after his testimony against the President as behind the killings of the DDS.

During last year’s Senate inquiry on extrajudicial killings, Lascanas denied the claim of self-confessed DDS member Edgar Matobato on the existence of DDS which carried out killings on orders of the President, then as Davao City mayor.

But Lascanas recanted his testimony as he confirmed the existence of the DDS. He even admitted he was part of the DDS whose members then Mayor Duterte paid as much as R100,000 for every drug suspect killed and liquidated.

He even implicated Duterte’s son, Paolo, who is now vice mayor of Davao City.

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II had said that Lascanas was allowed to leave the country because no cases have been filed against the retired police officer and no hold departure order has been issued against him.

But Aguirre said Lascanas act of leaving the country could be a move to evade prosecution. “He’s probably afraid of prosecution, just like what happened to Matobato,” Aguirre stressed.

Aguirre said that if Lascanas would not return to the country, the government could run after his protectors since harboring criminals is a criminal offense. “We have to know who is funding this trip. If there are people harboring him, that is criminal,” he warned. (Rey G. Panaligan)