Zubiri to senators: Don't turn probes into political circus, witch hunt

Zubiri to senators: Don’t turn probes into political circus, witch hunt

By: - Reporter / @MAgerINQ
/ 05:49 PM May 07, 2024

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Tuesday cautioned his colleagues in the Senate against turning their investigations into a political circus or a witch hunt.

Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” F. Zubiri presides over the plenary session in this file photo taken on April 30, 2024. Bibo Nueva España / Senate PRIB

MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Tuesday cautioned his colleagues in the Senate against turning their investigations into a political circus or a witch hunt.

This, as he observed “very serious accusations” made during the hearing of the Senate committee on public order.


The committee headed by former top cop and now Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa is investigating an alleged 12-year-old Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) operational documents that supposedly linked President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, and actress Maricel Soriano to illegal drugs.


“While certain claims were made, documentary evidence is yet to be presented,” Zubiri  said in a prepared statement read before the media.

“There were no pictures, no corroborating testimonies. In other words, this was solely based on the testimony of one person based on what appears to be hearsay evidence,” he said.

The Senate chief also wondered why the drug test of the President was being brought up in the hearing “even though it does not appear to be germane or important to the subject of the motu proprio investigation.”

“We respect the committees’ right to perform oversight functions, in aid of legislation. However, we just like to remind our colleagues to be very careful  not to use the hearings in aid of political persecution,”  Zubiri stressed.

He clarified that his warning is directed to all committees of the Senate, and not just to the  public order panel.


“Alam ko magkakaroon ng committee hearing dito sa gentlemen’s agreement. Ganun din ang caution ko sa chairperson at members of the Senate is let’s  try  to avoid making these  hearings into a political circus or for political witch hunts,” Zubiri said.

The Senate committee on foreign affairs  is set to probe the reported  gentlemen’s agreement between China and then President Rodrigo Duterte on the West Philippine  issue

Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, meanwhile,  raised the possible need for a separate  investigation  if Dela Rosa’s panel would dwell  on the contents of the alleged leaked  PDEA documents.

Escudero noted that initially, the committee was supposed to investigate the recent drug haul in Batangas and the PDEA leaks.

“…Ang issue  ng natin ay yung Batangas at yung PDEA leaks, hindi  yung sinasabi sa leak mismo,”  Escudero said during the hearing.

(The issue at hand is about Batangas and the PDEA leaks, not what is being said in the leak itself.)

“Pwedeng puntahan yun pero subject matter na po marahil yun sa isa pong pandinig na nakasentro na lamang dun sabagay na yun,” he added.

(We can touch on that matter but perhaps it’s already the subject matter of a hearing focused solely on that.)

In the meantime, Escudero said the probe should focus on the source of the leaked documents if Dela Rosa himself believes that the leaked documents were  indeed  authentic.

He also reminded the committee that the sworn testimony of witnesses or resource persons  in the hearing should only be limited to personal knowledge.

Otherwise, he said,  the  investigation could  run until end of the year if all names  of the persons mentioned  by a witness would be called to the  hearing.

Senator Grace Poe likewise cautioned the panel after  her office  has been warned about the character of former PDEA investigation agent Jonathan Morales, who reportedly signed the leaked documents.

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She mentioned a  number of cases that were allegedly  filed against Morales.

“Hindi naman natin sinasabi that it should jeopardize  your testimony. I’m just telling you  that  we really have to go through  that with a fine-tooth comb, the allegations that are being brought forth our committees,” Poe said.

Note: The English translations of quotes in this article have been generated with the aid of AI 
TAGS: investigation, Senate, senators, Zubiri

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