Zero-four: Lascañas tried but failed to get STL, transport, customs, quarry contracts before ratting on Duterte
Retired policeman Arthur Lascañas claimed he spent the last few months wrestling with his conscience and trying to save his soul by exposing his secret life as a deadly assassin allegedly for then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
But under the questioning of Senator JV Ejercito, Lascañas admitted that he tried to haggle for lucrative state projects ranging from a small town lottery franchise, a customs brokerage license, a transport terminal franchise to a quarry contract to ensure a good life after retiring last December.
Lascañas confessed he wanted to parlay his newly found popularity as a defender of Duterte when he initially denied self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato’s Davao Death Squad confession in a Senate hearing last October.
He revealed that he acted as a broker for a financier, collectively called “Davao Group” that sought his help in getting a small town lottery franchise. He said he was with presidential son, Baste Duterte, when he personally met PCSO Chair Jose Jorge E. Corpuz in Makati.
“Naramdaman ko na parang naexpose ako sa Senate investigation and kumbaga parang successful ung pagsisinunganling and it appears na tao talaga ako ni Mayor, Presidente, naramdaman ko na gamitin talaga nila personality ko para maka-influence. So hindi naman umubra kay Chairman Corpuz,” said Lascañas who was in Manila at that time following up his retirement package before he went out of the force in December 2016.
Lascañas said that the Corpuz was amenable to granting them a franchise in Visayas and Mindanao but his “Davao Group” wanted the “juicy areas” like Laguna Cavite, Batangas which Corpuz declined.
He said Corpuz’s son and executive assistant, Migs Corpuz, told the Davao Group they could not transfer the lucrative Luzon franchise because its current owners threatened the PCSO.
Lascañas told Migs that since threats were apparently the way to sway the PCSO, “why don’t we threaten your father so our franchise will be approved.” Lascanas, however, insisted that he was not part of the Davao group because he only accompanied them for five days.
“I was just listening and since I was doing nothing in Davao, I decided to join them,” said Lascañas.
He also admitted to Ejercito that he sought to get a Customs brokerage house after his Senate testimony in October but he was also turned down.
He said he used to provide “protection” to a Customs brokerage house in Davao City for six months in 2012.
Lascañas said he also applied for franchise to operate a transport terminal in Davao city. “Nag-audience kami personal kay Secretary (Arthur Tugade) with some leaders of a Bulacan Transport Group. We did not get approval,” said Lascanas.
Lascañas said he likewise tried to supply quarry materials for a 53-kilometer coastal road in Toril, Davao City. Again, he failed in his fourth try to make something out of his Senate appearance last October.
Based on the circumstances, Ejercito and Senator Panfilo Lacson commented that it really looked bad that Lascañas appeared to have only recanted his defense of Duterte after he fired blank bullets in his four attempts to bag a government contract using his Duterte connections.
But Lascanas stressed he did not have any “hard feelings” against Duterte for not getting any deals done after his Senate testimony. Lascanas denied that these rejections led him to recant his Senate testimony last October.
“Lahat ng magrertiro na mga ‘pulisan’ iniisip po ang kinabukasan. Wala naman masama. Kaya lang mukhang nabokya kayo,” said Ejercito.