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Former King lawyer clears Duterte family, slams De Lima

The former lawyer of the family of slain billionaire Richard King said on Friday that the Duterte family were never suspected of having been behind the hotelier's death in 2014.

Harry Roque, who now serves as Kabayan Party-list representative, made the statement a day after a self-confessed member of the Davao Death Squad (DDS) told a Senate hearing on extrajudicial killings that Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte ordered King's murder due to their rivalry over a woman.

The witness, Edgar Matobato, also alleged that President Rodrigo Duterte had ordered murders and bombings in the city, where he had served as mayor for nearly three decades.

In a text message to GMA News Online, Roque said there was no evidence to show that the Dutertes were involved in King's death. He added that the King family was angry at Senator Leila De Lima, who chaired the hearing, because "she used Richard for her personal and political ends."

Roque said the family is appalled that Richard's death is being used "to smear the name of President Duterte."

"The King family has already undergone enough trauma with the death of Richard," Roque said, adding that the family also disagrees with the love triangle angle.

"Police Supt. Leonardo Felonia was charged for King's murder. Not once was it the name of Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte ever mentioned in the course of the investigation," Roque added.

"The story that seems to be the most popular is that a businesswoman paid ?20 million to have Richard King killed. She contacted Felonia to look for killers."

Paolo Duterte had earlier belied the claims of Matobato, saying they were just mere hearsay. —JST, GMA News