'Accusations of a madman': Paolo Duterte slams Matobato's claims

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Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte (file photo)

Davao City (CNN Philippines) — Presidential son and Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte slammed the latest witness of the Senate inquiry on extrajudicial killings for implicating him in summary killings.

Edgar Matobato, who claimed to be a member of the Davao Death Squad (DDS), said on Thursday there were instances when Paolo Duterte ordered the group to kill his enemies.

Matobato said the DDS was ordered to kill billionaire businessman Richard King in 2014 over a "rivalry" over a woman. The witness identified rebel returnees Joel Tapales and Loloy Gabas as the assassins who killed King.

 

He claimed the two assassins were "double-crossed" by the police and eventually killed by them. He said he was later used as a fall guy and was accused and tortured by police authorities to admit to killing King.

Matobato also said he was forced to implicate police officer Leonardo Felonia to the King murder.

Felonia is now facing a murder charge in relation to King's death along with confessed assassin Paul Labang and his cohorts Rodel dela Cerna and Rommel dela Cerna.

Matobato also claimed that in 2010, Paolo Duterte ordered the DDS to kill a man he got into a traffic altercation with.

Related: Cayetano says extrajudicial killings probe might have political motive

Linked to drugs

The witness described Paolo as a shabu user, but not a pusher. Although he said he had never seen the presidential son using illegal drugs.

"Itong si Paolo Duterte maliit pa lang, ako na ang nag-eescort... Sa pagkakaalam ko, meron na siyang asawa, parang gumagamit 'yan ng drugs itong si Paolo Duterte. Matagal na 'yun, bata pa gumagamit 'yan. Gumagamit 'yan pero hindi nagtutulak," he said.

[Translation: When Paolo Duterte was younger, I used to escort him... Based on my knowledge, he was then already married, it seemed like Paolo Duterte was using drugs. He was already using when he was much younger. He was using drugs but he did not sell them.]

 

The witness also claimed to be one of the close-in bodyguards of Paolo since he was a child and that he used to accompany the young Duterte when attending his classes at the Ateneo de Davao.

The vice mayor denied knowing Matobato or having him as a  bodyguard when he was younger.

Related: Cayetano doubts, De Lima stands by Matobato's credibility

Matobato also claimed to have personally delivered ₱3 million as illegal payment to Bureau of Customs officers upon Paolo's orders.

The witness said the young Duterte also controls the Sasa Wharf in Davao and is behind the rice and oil smuggling in the city in 2013.

Paolo fights back

In a statement, Paolo called Matobato a madman and denied all the allegations.

"What (Senator Leila) de Lima and this certain Matobato says in public are bare allegations and in the absence of proof are mere hearsay," Duterte said.

He added, "I will not dignify with an answer the accusations of a madman."