Self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato drew the ire of senators on Monday evening after leaving the Committee of Justice and Human Rights hearing at the Senate premises, leading the legislators to say that the witness had been taking the panel for a ride.
Senator Richard Gordon and Panfilo Lacson, the chairman and vice-chairman, respectively, of the chairman of the Committee of Justice and Human Rights, lashed out after hearing testimony that Matobato had been charged with the kidnapping of alleged terrorist Sali Makdum. When Matobato was called on to testify, the panel was informed that the witness had left the premises.
Gordon was informed by a note from the office of Senator Antonio Trillanes that Matobato was no longer available to answer the panel's questions.
"Matobato had to leave so his security won't be compromised..." Gordon read from the note.
"Para bang nu'ng nabuko na, biglang nawala na," Gordon added.
This development drew the ire of Gordon and Lacson.
"We are now lining up all the inconsistencies and perpetrated by Mr. Matobato," Gordon said.
"I would like to believe, although I hate to admit this, that we were all taken of a ride by Mr. Matobato. And it's so frustrating that after all, we're not smarter than the first grader," Lacson added, in reference to Matobato's first grade education.
Matobato had alleged President Rodrigo Duterte's involvement in the DDS in past hearings. De Lima, a vocal opponent of Duterte who had interviewed Matobato prior to his testimony before the panel earlier this month, called Gordon and Lacson's pronouncements "an unfair conclusion."
Trillanes, meanwhile, defended Matobato's departure, saying it was his call to have the witness leave the premises, citing security concerns. [source]