Sotto opposes Senate investigation on priest killings
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III opposed Senator Risa Hontiveros’ proposal for a Senate probe on the spate of killings of Catholic priests in the country.
Sotto wondered what laws can be crafted out of the investigation, adding that the investigation would only waste the time of the Philippine National Police, the agency tasked to solve the killings of the members of the clergy.
“What will we inquire here? I think the Philippine National Police should be tasked to go after the solution of the case,” said Sotto.
“I wonder what legislation can be taken up that is not already in the Revised Penal Code or anything to that effect,” he added.
On Wednesday, Hontiveros filed a resolution directing the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs to look into the series of priest murders.
Hontiveros said she sees a pattern in the killings of Fr. Richmond Nilo, who was gunned down recently in Nueva Ecija, Fr. Mark Anthony Ventura, and Fr. Marcelito Paez.
She said she wonders if priests, who are vocal against certain policies, including mining activities, are the new target of “tokhang.”
The opposition senator also wants to see if President Rodrigo Duterte’s verbal attacks against the Catholic Church perpetuated the violence on the priests.
But for Sotto, the proposed investigation could be “political.”
“Ilayo natin ‘yung politika sa importanteng legislation. Nakakaabala lang tayo sa imbestigasyon eh, politika pala ang target n’yan (Let’s not mix politics with important legislation. We will only muddle the investigation, it looks like politics is the target there),” he said.
The Senate president said he doesn’t see any pattern in the killings.
“One hundred million ang tao sa Pilipinas, ilan ang pari sa Pilipinas? Baka nagkataon lang ‘yan. (There are one hundred million people in the Philippines. How many are priests? It may be just a coincidence) I don’t think it’s a pattern,” he said. /ee
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