President Rodrigo Duterte paid P4 million to have radio broadcaster Jun Pala killed back in 2003 when he was still Davao City mayor, a retired police officer and confessed member of the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS) claimed Monday.
At a press conference, retired SPO3 Arthur Lascañas said he was hired by Duterte, through the latter’s trusted aide SPO4 Sonny Buenaventura, to assassinate Pala.
“Sabi ni Sonny, galit na galit si Mayor Rody kay Jun Pala dahil sa palagi nitong atake araw-araw sa radyo,” Lascañas said.
Lascañas recalled he planned the murder, together with a certain SPO1 Jim Tan, who tapped “players” or hitmen to help in the murder.
He said they ambushed Pala twice, both of which were survived by the radio broadcaster.
Lascañas also recalled seeing Duterte in a Davao mall, wherein he apologized for failing on the mission twice. Duterte supposedly told him: “Take your time.”
Lascañas said they hired Pala’s part-time bodyguard, Jerry Trocio, for P350,000 to help provide them with information.
He said they attacked Pala as he was participating in a “tong-its” session together with Trocio.
“Sa madaling sabi, napatay si Jun Pala, two days after bingyan kami ni Mayor Duterte through SPO4 Sonny Buenaventura ng P3 million,” Lascañas said.
He said the money was split among those who planned the murder.
Lascañas said he was also given by Duterte a bonus of P1 million for killing Pala.
“Ito ang buong katotohanan sa Pala murder case. Considered na ito ngayon as solved. Isa ako sa nagpatay kay Jun Pala,” he said.
Pala, a broadcaster of Davao-based radio dxGO and critic of Duterte, was killed on September 6, 2003.
In September last year, confessed hitman Edgar Matobato claimed before a Senate inquiry that Duterte ordered Pala killed.
At the time, Matobato said one Jun Ayao was behind the killing, reportedly upon the orders of Duterte.
But during another Senate hearing in October, SPO3 Enrique “Jun” delos Reyes Ayao denied Matobato's claim.
“Dina-drag niya ‘yung pangalan ko sa assassination ni Jun Pala. That accusation, your honor, is categorically denied by me,” Ayao told the Senate justice committee.
At the hearing, Ayao said he was even one of those who responded to an attempt on the life of Pala prior to the latter’s killing in 2003.
“Kung meron akong masamang balak kay Jun Pala, dun na sa sasakyan na, iikot ko lang sasakayan, mauubusan na siya ng dugo pero hindi ko ginawa ‘yun kasi kaibigan ko si Pala,” he said.
GMA News has sought the reaction of the Palace but has yet to receive a reply as of posting time. — RSJ, GMA News