Former House Speaker Prospero Nograles on Thursday said none of his security personnel or staff were killed in 2010, contrary to the testimony in the Senate of self-confessed assassin Edgar Matobato that President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the killing of four of the former official’s bodyguards.
“As far as I know, there’s not a single incident that any of my staff or security personnel who were assigned to me while I was still in politics was killed even when I ran for mayor in 2010,” Nograles said in an emailed press statement to reporters.
In his testimony during the Senate investigation on the spate of alleged extrajudicial killings, Matobato said he was among those who killed four of Nograles’ bodyguards in 2010, allegedly upon the order of Duterte.
Nograles and Duterte are known political archrivals until the latter sought the presidency in last May’s national elections.
Matobato said that at the time of the supposed killings of the bodyguards, Nograles was running against Duterte’s daughter Sara in the mayoralty race.
Nograles lost to Sarah in that election while Duterte won as vice-mayor.
Matobato claimed he and the other members of Duterte’s supposed death squad brought Nograles’ bodyguards to Samal Island, where they were killed by hanging.
Matobato said the bodies of the victims were thrown in the sea.
But Nograles maintained that all his bodyguards are still alive.
“Buhay pa naman sila hanggang ngayon,” Nograles said.
Further, Nograles pointed out that Matobato could have asked for witness protection if he really has knowledge about the alleged killing.
“Futhermore, witness could have asked Speaker’s protection when I was at the height of power and could have gotten legislative protection program, security safehouse, etc. But he did not!” Nograles said.
Earlier, Nograles’ son, Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, denied Matobato’s testimony.
“From the time I was chief-of-staff of former Speaker Prospero C. Nograles to the time I was elected as congressman, no supporter of ours or persons under our employ was ever killed due to politics,” the younger Nograles said. — RSJ, GMA News