Opening Statement at the Senate Hearing of the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs

“RES INTER ALIOS ACTA” rule – this is a law doctrine that even a bar flunker would know and should know. It simply means – A THING DONE BETWEEN OTHERS DOES NOT HARM OR BENEFIT OTHERS.

An exception to this rule is when there is conspiracy.

Para kay retired SPO3 Arthur Bariquit Lascañas, upang mas madali po ninyong maunawaan ang doktrinang RES INTER ALLOS ACTA, babasahin ko ang ilang bahagi ng isang desisyon ng Kataas taasang Hukuman ng Republika ng Pilipinas sa kasong Harold Tamargo vs Romulo Awingan, et. al. na inilabas noong ika-19 ng Enero 2010 at iniakda ng yumaong dating Punong Mahistrado, Renato Corona. Thus, the Court ruled and I quote: 

“THIS rule prescribes that the act or declaration of the conspirator relating to the conspiracy and during its existence may be given in evidence against co-conspirators provided that the conspiracy is shown by independent evidence aside from the extrajudicial confession. Thus, in order that the admission of a conspirator may be received against his or her co-conspirators, it is necessary that:
(a) the conspiracy be first proved by evidence other than the admission itself;
(b) the admission relates to the common object; and
(c) it has been made while the declarant was engaged in carrying out the conspiracy. Otherwise, it cannot be used against the alleged co-conspirators without violating their constitutional right to be confronted with the witnesses against them and to cross-examine them.”

Ang maipapayo ko lamang kay SPO3 Lascañas, kung ang layunin ng iyong “extra-judicial confession” ay mapanagot sa ilalim ng batas si Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte at iba pang personalidad, marapat lamang na maliban sa iyong salaysay, may maipakita ka pang bukod at ibang ebidensya. Kung wala ay maaring masayang lamang ang oras ng mga tao dito dahil baka walang kahihinathan ang isinasagawa nating pagdinig sa araw na ito laban sa sinumang mga taong idinadawit mo.

Idagdag pa natin na ang extra-judicial confession ni retired SPO3 Lascañas ay hindi niya ginawa habang nagaganap ang diumano’y conspiracy na sinasabi niyang kinabibilangan niya mismo, ang noo’y Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte ng Davao City at iba pang mga personalidad na kanya ring binanggit sa kanyang sinumpaang salaysay na lumiban at tumaliwas sa nauna na niyang ipinahayag sa isa pang komite ng Senado noong ika-3 ng Oktubre 2016.

On another point, as chairman of the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs – I would like to state here and now, and this is my personal sentiment – that I have grown averse to flip-flopping statements made under oath, probably because of similar incidents in the past directly and indirectly affecting my person.

Thus, characters like Ador Mawanay, Udong Mahusay, Cesar Mancao, to name a few, who changed their sworn statements as if they were changing their socks from white to black, or vice-versa may have influenced my natural aversion to self-contradictions.

In this regard, again, may I quote from another recent SC ruling: In [People of the Philippines] vs Felipe Mirandilla Jr, penned by recently retired Justice Jose Perez, dated July 27, 2011, the Supreme Court ruled, and I quote:

“Jurisprudence is consistent that for testimonial evidence to be believed, it must not only come from a credible witness but must be credible in itself tested by human experience, observation, common knowledge and accepted conduct that has evolved through the years.

“As a rule, self-contradictions and contradictory statements of witnesses should be reconciled, it being true that such is possible since a witness is not expected to give error-free testimony considering the lapse of time and the treachery of human memory. But, this principle, learned from lessons of human experience, applies only to minor or trivial matters, innocent lapses that do not affect witness credibility. They do not apply to self-contradictions on material facts. Where these contradictions cannot be reconciled, the Court has to reject the testimonies, and apply the maxim, ‘falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus’….”

Having said all that, the chair and this committee will still allow to hear what SPO3 Lascañas has to say. This committee is not a court of law that will render judgement on the guilt or innocence of certain individuals. It is not a prosecutor that seeks the existence or absence of probable cause against persons being implicated in the commission of a crime. In a democracy such as ours, we do not suppress the voice of dissent and assertions of compunction and spiritual renewal, but not without a consequence on the part of the accuser for any misuse or abuse of his basic rights under existing laws of the land. Having said that, retired SPO3 Arthur Lascañas and the other resource persons appearing before this committee will be questioned by the members present in the order of their arrival. They will be given 10 minutes each for every round of questioning.

Since the members have already been provided with copies of his affidavit, to save time, we will proceed directly to the questions to be propounded by the senators. Before I yield the floor to my colleagues, there are at least a couple of preliminary questions that the chair would like to address to SPO3 Lascañas:

1. In your press conference last Feb. 20, you said that you lied the last time you testified under oath before the Committee on Justice and Human Rights last October 3, 2016.
• DO YOU CONFIRM THAT? [Lascanas replies: Yes, Mr. Chairman]
• In respect of what you claim to be fear for your life and that of your family, What makes the difference between FOUR MONTHS AGO, WHEN YOU TESTIFIED UNDER OATH BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS; AND NOW THAT YOU ARE TESTIFYING UNDER OATH BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC ORDER AND DANGEROUS DRUGS? Rodrigo Duterte was president then and still president now. Kindly enlighten us.