Sotto to critics of Senate probe on ‘ninja cops:’ Zip it
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III hit back at critics of the Senate panel’s investigation into the “ninja cops” issue, saying that those who are not familiar with the Senate rules should just “zip it.”
During the Senate justice and blue ribbon committees joint inquiry on Wednesday, Sotto called out “executive officials” who were wondering why the hearing “has moved to another issue.”
“There had been statements made by some and even executive officials that they’re wondering why this hearing has moved to another issue, the direct answer would be apparently you have not been monitoring the hearings,” the Senate leader said.
“Because indeed the committee on justice and the blue ribbon committee started convening an inquiry into the GCTA [good conduct time allowance law], which evolved into the influence in recycling and illegal activities in the BuCor [Bureau of Corrections] or the National Bilibid Prison,” he added.
Sotto explained that it could not be avoided that issues pertaining to illegal activities inside the BuCor would come up during the hearings.
“It cannot be helped that if there are illegal activities and recycling of illegal drugs influenced by those inside the BuCor who are already behind bars or PDLs [persons deprived of liberty] but are still called drug lords you cannot help but these issues will come about and that it precisely why it has gone to the issue of recycling,” he said.
“We just want to clear the air on the issue that this has been being turned to a political scenario,” he added.
It can be recalled that Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that the Senate hearing into the “ninja cops” controversy has been tainted with “political color.”
“Alam mo, [ang] ayaw ko dito sa [You know what I don’t like about the] Senate investigation. I’m just saying my piece. I cannot even understand why…parang pinalalabas nilang ang administrasyon eh [they’re trying to make it appear that the administration is] failing [in] the drug [war]. Parang nagiging politika, yun ang nakikita ko diyan [I think it’s being politicized],” Panelo told reporters after the Philippines-Russia forum in Moscow last week.
But Sotto, who did not mention any executive official, argued that the Senate blue ribbon committee has the authority to conduct any hearing concerning any public official and “anything at all under the sun.”
“Definitely, you are completely wrong when you say that, because the events that have been unearthed transpired in 2013, it does not have anything to do with the drug war of the present administration, it does have nothing to do with the present administration,” Sotto said.
“The blue ribbon committee can convene and call for an inquiry even without a resolution, a bill or a privilege speech or anything to that effect. The blue ribbon can even convene for an inquiry just to find out how much you bought your ball pen if you’re a public official. That’s how it is. So, for those who are not familiar with the Senate rules, my message is that zip it,” he added. /jpv
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