FORMER Speaker of the House Prospero Nograles and his son, Davao City Representative Karlo Alexei Nograles, denied that three of their bodyguards were killed by the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS) upon the orders of then mayor and now President Rodrigo Duterte.
In a television interview after the Senate committee hearing on extrajudicial killings, where Edgar Matobato, a former militiaman, testified that he was among those who killed the bodyguards, the former Speaker of the House said he did not have any security personnel that was murdered due to politics.
"Yung away namin ni Duterte is pure politics. I don't know where this guy got his info that my closed-in security was murdered," said the older Nograles, who was a political rival of Duterte.
Representative Nograles, for his part, said on a Facebook post Thursday that he does not know what Matobato was talking about.
"From the time I was chief-of-staff to the time I was elected as congressman, no supporter of ours or persons under our employ was ever killed due to politics. Political differences in our city has always been strictly on the level of difference in policy and style; it has never degraded into the level of physical or violent. That is why it is easy for us to set aside our differences and unite for the common good of Davao and the nation," he said.
"I can only suspect that this guy (Matobato) is being manipulated by some people to only serve their own selfish interests," he added.
Matobato said during the Senate hearing Thursday that Duterte, when he was still a Davao City mayor, ordered him and other members of the DDS, a liquidation squad, to kill criminals and opponents in gangland-style assaults that left about 1,000 dead.
He acknowledged that he himself carried out about 50 of the abductions and deadly assaults, including a man who they fed to a crocodile in 2007 in Davao City.
Matobato narrated that Nograles' bodyguards were brought to Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos).
"Ako ang nagbuhat, isa-isa ko binuhat. Nilagay sa buhangin at binigti lahat. Pagkatapos, biniyak namin `yung tiyan tapos ako ang nagkarga ng bangka doon sa laot. Tinapon namin. Nilagyan ng hollow blocks, tig tatlo kada isang tao," he said.
READ: Witness says Duterte 'ordered' killings
The Senate committee inquiry was being led by Senator Leila de Lima, a staunch critic of Duterte's anti-drug campaign that has left more than 3,000 suspected drug users and dealers dead since he assumed the presidency in June. (LMY/With AP/Sunnex)