Metro Manila — A Davao City court issued three arrest warrants on Tuesday against self-confessed hitman and former police officer Arturo Lascañas in connection with the 2003 killing of broadcaster Jun Pala.
The Davao City Regional Trial Court Branch 10 issued one warrant for murder and two warrants for attempted murder, each with a P120,000 bail.
In a February 2017 press conference, Lascañas admitted to killing Pala as part of the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS), a vigilante group that committed extrajudicial killings allegedly upon orders of then-Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
"Kami ang nagplano na i-assasinate si Jun Poras Pala," he said. "Gumawa kami ng pag-ambush kay Jun Pala... Napatay si Jun Pala. Two days after, binigyan kami ni Mayor Rody Duterte, through SP04 Sonny Buenaventura, ng P3 million."
Lascañas added that Duterte gave him P1 million for the killing, which the former policeman accepted.
Pala suffered nine gunshot wounds and died upon arrival in a hospital.
A change of heart
In October 2016, Lascañas denied being involved in the DDS after he had been tagged by Edgar Matobato, another self-confessed hitman and alleged DDS member.
However, Lascañas backpedaled in February 2017 and admitted to killing people in Davao City who were involved in crimes related to illegal drugs.
He said he decided to confess publicly because of his fear of Christ, love for the country and his nagging conscience.
"Patayin man ako, kuntento na ako na nagawa ko ang promise ko sa Diyos na magsagawa ng isang public confession," he said as he wiped away his tears.
Lascañas added that this confession ended his loyalty to Duterte.
"Dito magtatapos ang blind obedience ko sa isang tao - kay Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte, na ngayon po ay Presidente ng bansa natin," he said.
Duterte has repeatedly denied the allegations.
On May 2017, the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs dismissed Lascañas' testimony in a hearing on the existence of the DDS.
The committee said there was not enough evidence to prove that the DDS existed and to prove Lascañas' allegations against Duterte and police officers Buenaventura, Fulgencio Pavo, Jim Tan and Dick Cloribe.
"Lascañas' testimony could not be possibly considered as evidence against the persons he was implicating without first putting forward other evidence that could establish the grand conspiracy he was claiming," the committee said.
Source: CNN Philippines