Saturday, September 17, 2016

Is Edgar Matobato a real and credible witness?

He says billionaire Richard King was killed inside a fast food restaurant which was a few meters away from his office Vital C building where he was killed. He says two of his friends did it by pumping bullets into King's head. King's lawyer and now Congressman Harry Roque flatly denied all of these and even imputed political reasons for this man's sudden exposure.

Surely, Edgar Matobato is like a pebble thrown into the placid pond. Basing on the reactions made by Filipinos online, Matobato's surprising stories got the traction his handlers wanted. Yet, what Matobato's handlers failed to realize is they are treading a very dangerous path here. I'll discuss it later here.

For one, Matobato seemed to be the person he wanted us to believe--he was an assassin and a cold blooded killer. He was once a farmer but poverty pushed him to this gruesome business of killing at least fifty and took part in the disappearance of a thousand.

As a police beat reporter before, I am trained to spot a criminal several miles away, and Matobato seemed the man he said he was. However spotty his narrations are, there are two things which explains his spotty memory--his advanced age and he was twice tortured by his own colleagues.

Why do criminal syndicates torture their members who want out? First, torture is an effective means of frying one's brains and therefore, memories out. Those who were tortured know this. Trauma can cause momentary, even permanent damage to the brain. Most survivors retain some of the memories but if asked specific times and dates, survivors find it very hard to re-construct.

That explains why Matobato seemed at the loss of dates, and of places. What is surprising though, is his very clear memory of what had happened to him.

He remembers the names of his colleagues, and how he killed his victims. If you look at his face, there is no emotions there--only a blank, sinister stare sometimes.

PNP chief Dela Rosa told the Senate that he heard of him--that he is known as a "tirador"---a local term for assassin or someone who kills or a gun for hire, a thug to some. Obviously, Bato does not personally know Matobato because Matobato is what is known as an "asset" who reports to a handler. His handlers, according to him, are policemen, some still in active service, others, already retired.

Yes, I believe that he killed many people--the problem really is, I don't believe that he is that high up in the totem pole that he knows exactly who he killed or who got the brunt of the "punishment" he and his group inflicted upon certain individuals.

Matobato is probably just one of about 30 members of the vigilante group which operated in Davao City during then Mayor Duterte. I am most certain some or even most of the names given to Matobato are false. Let's not forget, Matobato is an illiterate. He gets his info only from his friends at the group.

There are probably some whom he knows--those Davaoenos who were ordered killed when they violated the law in that city.

Now, here's the thing---so what if Matobato says there were killings outside those operations perpetuated by the police?

During the campaign, Mayor Duterte has already said that he has his own group. Many already knew about this, but this did not diminish his stature before the people---this issue even catapulted Duterte to the presidency.

So, if these people behind Matobato's expose are hoping for a popular revolt to be the consequence or end game of this telenovela----think again.

That, my friend, is a very long shot.