Mang Edgar

Life on Duterte's Death Squad | The New York TimesFull Interview

Mang Edgar is a 59 year old man from Davao city, Philippines. He became the face of the Philippine Drug War alongside the lady senator, Sen. Leila de Lima, a vocal critic of the current administration.

Mang Edgar was described by his former neighbors in a barangay as a kind man prior to being a hitman for Davao Death Squad. Neighbors in another barangay say he is a boisterous man, “drunkard” and points a gun at anyone looking at him, exclaiming proudly “DDS ako!”.

In 2013, Mang Edgar wanted to retire from being a serial killer

He told Arthur Lascanas, his boss, that he likes to retire and just live the remainder of his life in peace.

Mang Edgar took another job as a bodyguard for an American man in Samal Island. It was just a matter of time before Lascanas and the group will hunt him down. They saw an opportunity by blaming Richard King’s death on him, a Cebuano millionaire killed inside his office by two rebel returnees- Joel Tapanas and Loloi Gabas on June 12, 2014. The two rebel returnees were double-crossed by the same policemen who ordered the hit.

On June 19, he was abducted and tortured. They are pressuring him to pinpoint Davao city Intelligence Chief Leonardo Felonia as the mastermind of the killing of Richard King but refuses to do so. He was tortured for a week and was only released in police custody because his family came looking for him. He took shelters in parish churches in Cebu, Leyte and Samar. He approached the Commission on Human Rights in Tacloban on August 21 to no avail as the office is unable to give him protection. Mang Edgar was advised to go to Department of Justice (DOJ) in Manila and undergo Witness Protection Program (WPP).

Senator Leila de Lima was the Secretary of DOJ at that time when Mang Edgar came to the DOJ. Mang Edgar approached the security guard and told him “Susuko po ako.” (I am surrendering.) The security guard alerted the building and he was escorted to the office of Atty. Martin Menez, the Executive Director of WPP. He also met then DOJ Sec. de Lima face to face for the first time. He was videotaped while narrating his testimony. At that time, he did not narrate everything to the Secretary of Justice.

Mang Edgar left WPP when he knew Rodrigo Duterte is going to win the May 2016 elections. It’s not going to be safe anymore. He sought shelter again from parish churches.

Mang Edgar resurfaced on the senate inquiry on extrajudicial killings on September 15, 2016 and shocked many, most probably even PNP General Director “Bato” dela Rosa. Bato was the PNP Chief in Davao city where Rodrigo Duterte was mayor then and was personally handpicked by Duterte as the current PNP Chief, he was also pinpointed by Mang Edgar alongside Duterte, Lascanas and many others. Bato denied Matobato’s allegations saying he doesn’t know him:

Bato: “First time ko siyang nakita although naririnig ko pangalan niya na, tirador ’yan si Matobato.”
(It was my first time seeing him but I heard that Matobato is a gun for hire)

Eventually, Sen. de Lima was moved to be ousted by the boxer-turned-senator Manny Pacquiao as the Chair of the Committee on Human Rights and Justice to be replaced by the president’s ally, Sen. Dick Gordon. Mang Edgar was shamed over and over again because he can’t read, write or even understand English. Sen. Alan Cayetano kept on talking to him in English and spinning around even in the unnecessary details. Masking tape? Packing tape? The heck, anything! As long as it covers the victims face and ties their hands and feet well.

An uneducated gun for hire couldn’t care less about the names of office supplies as long as it gets the job done!

The current Committee on Human Rights and Justice moved that Matobato will no longer be necessary in the hearings as his first-hand testimony is “insinuations, hearsay and irrelevant”. Since then, Mang Edgar is interviewed by international and local media where he can share his story .