Lascañas: Lied, 'I was afraid for the safety and security of my loved ones'


Lascañas says he lied about death squad link out of fear for safety

Retired SPO3 Arturo “Arthur” Lascañas said he was “forced” to deny his supposed link to the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS) when he appeared in a Senate inquiry out of fear for his safety.


Lascañas said this in a 12-page affidavit he executed on February 19, a day before he appeared in a press conference and accused President Rodrigo Duterte of having ordered several people killed during his term as Davao City mayor.

Copies of the affidavit were provided to members of the media by the office of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

“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 referring to confessed hitman Edgar Matobato.

Matobato last year faced the Senate justice and human rights committee to testify on the existence of the DDS and Duterte’s role in the killings in Davao City.

He then named Lascañas as the supposed “team leader” of the DDS, which the latter vehemently denied when he appeared before the Senate.


In his affidavit, however, Lascañas said he was a “major player” of the death squad.

“The truth is that most of what Matobato told the Senate is true. It’s just that Matobato was only a foot solider and had limited knowledge of what really happened because the operations were compartmentalized,” Lascañas said.

“I was present when then Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte of Davao City ordered the killing of numerous men and women, and have us reward money after we executed them. I was responsible for the killing of many men and women, and at least one child, upon the instructions of Mayor Duterte,” he added.

Lascañas said Duterte was “serious” at first when he organized the Anti-Crime Task Force in 1988. His close friend, a certain Major Ernesto Macasaet, was tapped to head the task froce.

He said they first “targeted and killed” drug addicts and 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. We became liked hired contract killers who killed not only criminals but innocent people,” he said.

Lascañas also narrated in his affidavit how the death squad started, and how it became responsible for the killings of the Patasaja family, Jun Bersabal, and radio broadcaster Jun Pala, as well as the bombings of mosques in Davao City. [Read full report: GMA]

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