House jails SMNI host Celiz who said Speaker spent P1.8B in trips in 1 year
MANILA, Philippines — Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) host Jeffrey Celiz has been ordered detained by House committee on legislative franchises.
He is being penalized for failing to reveal who gave him the supposedly wrong information about the Speaker’s travel expenses.
During the hearing of House committee on legislative franchises, Surigao del Sur 2nd District Representaive Johnny Pimentel moved to cite Celiz in contempt.
Then, Pimentel asked that the SMNI host be detained until the panel finishes and forwards its report on the matter to the plenary.
Initially, Pimentel wanted to detain Celiz until the latter names his alleged source from Senate.
But Antipolo 2nd District Representative Romeo Acop moved to detain the host for 30 days.
Acop reminded the committee that House is not allowed to detain erring resource persons indefinitely.
Pimentel, however, questioned this rule, saying that if Celiz would be allowed to go out after 30 days, then, it would mean the SMNI host would only need to wait for 30 days to be free.
Pimentel worried Celiz would again refrain from disclosing the identity of the person who told him that Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez allegedly spent P1.8 billion for travel expenses in just a year.
Pimentel made the move to punish Celiz after he failed, for the fourth time, to answer Quezon 2nd District Representaive David Suarez’ request to reveal who was his source reportedly from Senate.
During SMNI’s ‘Laban Kasama ng Bayan’ program on November 27, Celiz had said a source told him that Romualdez’ expenditure for trips reached P1.8 billion in one year.
He also said the amount could be larger, if funds used by the Speaker’s entourage would be considered.
After Celiz uttered these remarks, Suarez urged House to direct the committee on legislative franchises to exercise its oversight function and hold a probe into SMNI.
During the hearing on November 30, Celiz apologized to the panel and to Romualdez.
His action came, after House Secretary General Reginald Velasco clarified the entire House only spent P39.6 million in foreign travels.