MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s chief legal adviser Sunday dismissed as a mere “fabrication” the journal supposedly written by retired policeman and self-confessed hitman Arturo Lascañas.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said the journal, which detailed the killings carried out while Duterte was still mayor of Davao City, was written by a lawyer “with a penchant for literary prose” and not an ordinary police sergeant like Lascañas.Panelo said the journal, which detailed the killings carried out while Duterte was still mayor of Davao City, was written by a lawyer “with a penchant for literary prose” and not an ordinary police sergeant like Lascañas.
“The so-called journal is a fabrication. The fact alone that it not presented at the first opportunity is already a give-away that it is an obvious and a no-brainer afterthought,” Panelo said in a text message.
“Moreover, the contents of the journal speak for themselves, obviously written by a lawyer with a penchant for literary prose, and certainly not by an ordinary police sergeant who cannot understand the words like ‘Waterloo,’ ‘presidential derby,’ ‘telecommunication,’ and "Divine-something,’” he added.
Lascañas has accused Duterte of being behind the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS), a vigilante group that supposedly executed criminals in the city.
The allegation was a turnaround from the statement he made last year that the death squad did not exist. Lascañas has claimed that his conscience had impelled him to expose Duterte’s alleged involvement in extrajudicial killings.
Duterte has repeatedly denied that he endorsed summary executions but admitted that hundreds of criminals died during his 23-year stint as Davao City mayor. He also denied giving orders to Lascañas but admitted that knowing the self-confessed hitman as a policeman.
Last week, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) reported about Lascañas’ handwritten journal that described his career as well as the activities of the so-called DDS.
In the journal, Lascañas’ said Duterte’s entry into the “presidential derby” could be a “divine trap” that would lead the Davao City mayor to his “political waterloo.”
"Election season — Mayor Rody, against Atty. Prospero "Boy" Nograles, the Golden Boy of President Cory Aquino. Nograles was defeated. Another election came, Mayor Rodry againsy Boy Nograles, again Boy Nograles was defeated," Lascañas said in his handwritten journal. Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
SPO3 Arturo Lascañas started writing a journal sometime in 2015. In this page, he recalls the his previous assignments in Davao City. Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism
“Win or lose, sooner or later, he would become the most hated political figure in Philippine history," the PCIJ report quoted the journal as saying.
Lascañas also described Duterte as “a physically, morally, and spiritually disturbed person” who is “for flesh, blood, and power no matter what.”
“If ever he will win the presidency and apply in the whole country his Davao formula of bloodletting on the premise of peace and order and illegal drugs, eventually he will lead this country (to) hell, and deceptively perpetuate himself to lifetime in power,” the journal read.