Marcoleta doubts 'brave witnesses' to alleged bribery in PI drive

Marcoleta doubts ‘brave witnesses’ to alleged bribery in signature drive

/ 12:04 PM January 30, 2024

Witnesses to the alleged signature campaign for the amendments of the 1987 Constitution were questioned at Tuesday's Senate hearing why they were hiding their faces. 

Sagip Party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta. PHOTO FROM FACEBOOK

MANILA, Philippines — Witnesses to the alleged signature campaign for the amendments of the 1987 Constitution were questioned at Tuesday’s Senate hearing why they were hiding their faces.

Hiding their identities, five witnesses appeared before the Senate committee on electoral reforms and people’s participation to testify that they were victimized by the “bribery” surrounding the “sham” people’s initiative supposedly stirred by politicians.


Senator Imee Marcos, who presided over the committee chairperson hearing, said the witnesses were brave for stepping up.


This, however, did not sit well with Sagip Rep. Rodante Marcoleta, who questioned why the witnesses were wearing hoodies, face masks, and sunglasses to conceal their identities.

“If they are brave witnesses, bakit sila naka maskara? Kung sila ay matapang bakit sila nakamaskara?,” Marcoleta asked.

(If they are so brave, why are they wearing masks? If they are brave, why are they wearing masks?)

“Ang alam ko sa mga matatapang na witnesses ay talagang haharapin nila ang lahat ng consequences,” he emphasized.

(From what I know, brave witnesses can face every consequence.)

Agreeing with Marcoleta, Marcos asked the witnesses why they were hiding their identities.


“Natatakot po kami baka po balikan po kami ng nagpapirma sa amin,” one of the five witnesses managed to say.

(We are afraid that those who forced us to sign will go back to us.)

Witnesses present during the hearing testified that local government unit officials are aware of the supposed signature campaign.

But later on in the hearing, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri made clear that witnesses have the right to choose whether or not to reveal their identities if they are subjected to a public hearing.

“Our rules allow it, that their identities may be protected. Hindi po natin kailangang silang pilitin at this point in time na i-reveal ang kanilang sarili, kasi kung hindi maraming matatakot sa mga hearings natin,” said Zubiri.

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(We cannot force them at this point in time to reveal themselves because if that’s the case, many witnesses will be afraid to attend our hearings.)

TAGS: hearing, People's Initiative, Senate, signature

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