Senators recommend placing Matobato under Senate custody and protection, Sen. Koko rejects request

Senators recommended placing self-confessed killer and witness Edgar Matobato under the protection and custody of the Senate
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said the Senate should provide sanctuary to Matobato within the Senate grounds so that he will be adequately protected
However, Senator Koko rejected the request of the Senate committee on justice and human rights


MANILA, Philippines – Senators recommended placing self-confessed killer and witness Edgar Matobato under the protection and custody of the Senate.

During the Senate hearing on the spate of extrajudicial killings and summary executions, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said the Senate should provide sanctuary to Matobato within the Senate grounds so that he will be adequately protected.

“My motion is to place the witness under the custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms and provide sanctuary within the Senate grounds until formal arrangements can be made,” Trillanes said as quoted by Amita Legaspi in an article for GMA News.

The senator also wanted Matobato to be placed under the Department of Justice’s Witness Protection Program.

Senator Leila de Lima, chairman of the Senate committee on justice and human rights, agreed with the motion filed by Trillanes.

“The Senate is the best to provide protection to the witness at this time,” she said.

Alongside De Lima, Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III and Senator Franklin Drilon also agreed with the motion. Senator Trillanes further recommended that the witness be given legislative immunity.

Both motions should be approved by Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III before it can be implemented.

However, Senator Koko rejected the request of the Senate committee on justice and human rights to place Matobato under the protection and custody of the Senate

An article by Amita Legaspi and Kathrina Charmaine Alvarez for GMA News revealed that Sen. Trillanes, through a text message to reporters, said he was informed by the office of Pimentel of the Senate leader’s decision.

“Senator Pimentel’s office has just informed us that he has denied the committee’s request for Senate custody of Mr. Edgar Matobato,” Trillanes said.

Trillanes said although he does not know what will happen next, the senator said they will protect Matobato.

“I don’t know but I’m disappointed. Anyway hindi namin siya pababayaan,” he reportedly said in a text message sent to GMA News.

During the hearing, Matobato said that he knows his testimony could cost him his life.

“Alam ko ‘yung testimony ko ‘yung buhay ko naman ang kapalit. Matagal na nila akong hinahabol,” he said.

[“I know that my testimony could cost me my life. They’ve been  looking for me a long time.”]
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