Gordon’s conclusion based on evidence
This refers to Inquirer’s Feb. 28 editorial cartoon which showed a character called Gordon holding a sign “Walang Davao Death Squad” with the names Lascañas and Matobato. I presume that the cartoon referred to the work of Sen. Richard J. Gordon, as chair of the committee on justice and human rights, in investigating, in aid of legislation, the existence of the Davao Death Squad, among other matters.
As in any investigation, conclusions are based on testimonies of witnesses and evidence presented. Based on the evidence and statements presented to the committee, there was no evidence that a Davao Death Squad existed. In fact, then SPO4 Arturo Lascañas firmly and repeatedly stated that he was not a member of a Davao Death Squad as such a group never existed.
Thus, the editorial cartoon was unjust and unfair. Senator Gordon was merely doing his job as a senator investigating a pressing issue (the recent and rampant killings), and the committee report he submitted to the Senate body discussed how he arrived at the conclusion that there was neither a Davao Death Squad nor state-sponsored killings, based on evidence presented during the hearing. The testimonies and evidence made or presented by various witnesses and resource persons during the investigation, such as those of the National Bureau of Investigation, the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Davao City Police, among others, showed that there was no Davao Death Squad. This was confirmed by then SPO4 Lascañas when he testified in one of the hearings.
Please note that when Senator Gordon took over as chair of the committee on justice and human rights, the investigation was already underway and witnesses and various resource persons had already been invited to testify. He did not withdraw any invitation nor postpone a hearing; he simply proceeded with hearing the witnesses and resource persons already scheduled to testify. None of them were his witnesses, as they were all invited by the committee before he took over, and he certainly did not influence them into giving the testimonies they did. It is not fair to mock him for arriving at a conclusion based on their testimonies and the evidence presented.
I hold the Inquirer in very high esteem for printing balanced news and having fearless views. I would like to think that it did not mean to be unfair and unjust.
RUY Y. MORENO, chief of staff, Office of Sen. Richard J. Gordon
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