SELF-PROCLAIMED Davao Death Squad (DDS) member Edgar Matobato is believed to be hiding in a province in Eastern Visayas Region, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said Thursday, May 11.
NBI-Davao Regional Director Arnold Rosales told SunStar Davao that there were reports of Matobato in a province in Eastern Visayas. He, however, refused to name which province.
Rosales said the NBI-Central Office has already deployed its agents to the province to verify the reports. He added that Matobato reportedly has distant relatives in Eastern Visayas.
"According to reports, Matobato has distant relatives in this province kung saan siya pansamantala ng namamalagi. As of now, we are still waiting for the feedback from the agents there," Rosales said.
Rosales said looking for Matobato in Eastern Visayas is not easy because the province, where he is allegedly hiding, is also a known area of the communist rebels.
The NBI earlier created a task group to look for Matobato who was, allegedly, hiding earlier in Pangasinan. But the accused was nowhere to be found when agents arrived there two months ago.
Rosales said the bureau has coordinated with the office of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, hoping that he will assist the surrender of the accused but the senator's camp is no longer interested on the matter.
The Panabo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) issued on March 27 a hold departure order against Matobato as he faces trial for allegedly kidnapping a Turkish national and suspected terrorist Sali Makdum last 2002.
In an order issued by Judge Dorothy Montejo-Gonzaga of the RTC Branch 4, the hold departure order was issued following the issuance of the arrest warrant against the accused on the same case.
Rosales also said the 10-day period given for Matobato's surrender already lapsed but they will issue an alias warrant, a warrant issued when the subject fails to appear in court for a scheduled court date before any plea has been entered.
The RTC Branch 19 in Digos City had previously ordered the arrest of Matobato who was found liable for frustrated murder against a retired adjudicator of the Department of Agrarian Reform, Abeto Salcedo Jr.
In October last year, Matobato surrendered to the national police headquarters in Quezon City after a local court in Davao City issued an arrest warrant for his repeated failure to appear on his scheduled arraignment for the charges on illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
Facilitated by Trillanes, Matobato was released on October 14, 2016 after posting bail worth P30,000.
Matobato tagged President Rodrigo Duterte, who was mayor of Davao City for 22 years, to be behind the extrajudicial killings perpetrated by the DDS.