Matobato a no-show at arraignment, court set to issue warrant of arrest

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DAVAO CITY – The Presiding Judge of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) Branch 3 here is set to issue a warrant of arrest for confessed Davao Death Squad member Edgar Matobato after his failure to appear before the court on Tuesday’s arraignment.

Matobato was still in Metro Manila for marathon Senate hearings on EJKs, but the joint hearings were suspended Tuesday; and senators said that when these resume, Matobato will no longer be presented.

Matobato and his lawyer Atty. Gregorio Andolana were a no show at the scheduled court arraignment for a case of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition filed by the Philippine National Police on June 20, 2014 docketed as criminal case 150,292-C-2014.

MTCC Branch 3 Presiding Judge Silverio Madalupe will also forfeit the P2,000 bailbond posted by Matobato on June 30, 2014 for his temporary liberty. Their failure to appear for the arraignment prompted the court to archive Matobato’s case.

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A record from the Investigation and Detective Management Branch (IDMB) of the DCPO showed Matobato was arrested around 9:40p.m. on June 19, 2014, following an information from a concerned citizen that one alias Edgar was carrying a firearm outside his residence in Familia Sagrada Km.12 Sasa, this city.

Then 56 years old, Matobato identified himself as a private bodyguard and a resident of Km.12 Sagrada Familia, Sasa. During his arrest, police authorities seized from him a Colt .45 caliber pistol, three pieces magazine loaded with 29 rounds of ammunition and an expired firearm’s license card.

Matobato possessed a permit to carry obtained from PNP Camp Crame but was only valid from December 5 to 11, 2012.

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Previously, the court had scheduled an arraignment for Matobato but this was cancelled as he was under the Witness Protection Program (WPP) of the Department of Justice (DoJ).

During the Senate hearing where Matobato testified on extrajudicial killings, he admitted he was already out of the WPP.

The illegal possession of firearms and ammunition is just one of the cases filed against Matobato, who also has a pending kidnapping for ransom case filed by the live-in partner of Sali Makhdum in the Island Garden City of Samal.

Last September 23, a retired adjudicator of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for Southern Mindanao Abeto Salcedo filed a frustrated murder case against Matobato after seeing him on the televised Senate hearing. Salcedo recognized Matobato as the man who tried to kill him.

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Salcedo said Matobato was the same man who shot him at close range as he emerged from the DAR provincial office in Digos City onOctober 24, 2014. Salcedo survived from three gunshot wounds he sustained in that attack. He said he could not be mistaken on Matobato because it was only his car’s window that separated them.

During the Senate hearing on September 22, Matobato denied his involvement in the attempted murder of Salcedo, saying he was at that time under the DoJ’s WPP.

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