Lascañas in affidavit: Matobato was telling the truth

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(File photo) Arturo Lascañas

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — He wants a clear conscience, and he's starting it by revealing the operations of the alleged Davao Death Squad (DDS).

In an affidavit submitted to the Senate, retired cop Arturo Lascañas — who previously denied the existence of the group — retracted his statements.

He was one of those named by self-confessed DDS killer Edgar Matobato when he testified before the Senate in September 2016.

Also read: Policemen named by Matobato deny allegations

Lascañas said he was forced to deny Matobato's accusations on the alleged extrajudicial killings in Davao City.

"I was forced to deny what Matobato said, even if most of it was true, because I was afraid for the safety and security of my loved ones in Davao City," Lascañas said.

"The truth is that most of what Matobato told the Senate is true.  It's just that Matobato was only a foot soldier and had limited knowledge of what really happened because the operations were compartmentalized," he added.

Lascañas, who claims to be a "major player" in the DDS, said he wanted a clear conscience and that he is now "ready to tell the truth."

"I was present when then Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte of Davao City ordered the killing if numerous men and women, and gave us reward money after we executed them," Lascañas said, adding he was responsible for the killing of many men and women and at least one child upon the instructions of Duterte.

Lascañas said their group gave then Mayor Duterte the codename "Superman."

He also said their group was at first going after criminals — but they were eventually allegedly ordered to kill Duterte's personal and political enemies.

"In the beginning, we targeted and killed drug addicts, drug pushers, snatchers, holduppers, and other criminals. Later on, however, we were ordered by Mayor Duterte to go after and kill his personal and political enemies," he said. "We became hired killers who killed not only criminals but innocent people."

Also read: Most senators want Lascañas to face Senate again over Death Squad claims

Lascañas said, the DDS is also responsible for the deaths of radio broadcaster Jun Pala and of Jun Bersabal, a retired soldier of the defunct Philippine Constabulary, who was allegedly engaged in various criminal activities like akyat-bahay (robbing homes), rape, and robbery in Davao City. 

Lascañas also reiterated, Duterte was responsible for the bombing of some mosques in Davao City, "in retaliation for the bombing" of St. Peter's Cathedral in 1993 where at least seven were killed.

"Mayor Duterte told us that the ones who were responsible for the cathedral bombing were radicals and extremists from the Muslim community. He was very angry at them and said that he would not tolerate their act of bombing the cathedral," he said.

"He then ordered us to retaliate by bombing several mosques. We were each given specific assignments and were provided with hand grenades," Lascañas added.

Lascañas also said he's sorry for what he did, and asked for forgiveness from the family of those he killed.

"I do not expect forgiveness from the families and relatives of the people we killed. I do hope that they would at least find comfort in knowing what really happened to them and who was truly responsible for their disappearance and murder," said Lascañas.

Lascañas said he is ready to face the consequences of his deeds.

Also read: CHR factchecks Andanar: Duterte not cleared in Davao Death Squad issue