Businessman James Kumar skips Senate panel's PDEA probe

Businessman James Kumar skips Senate panel’s ‘PDEA leaks’ probe

/ 11:31 AM May 20, 2024

Businessman James Kumar skips Senate panel's 'PDEA leaks' probe

FILE PHOTO: Senator Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa questions the timing of Indian businessman James Kumar’s admission to the hospital. Kumar was not able to attend the Senate panel investigation of “leaked” Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency  (PDEA) documents linking certain personalities to illegal drug use on Monday, May 20. 2024. (Bibo Nueva España/Senate PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines — Indian businessman James Kumar did not attend Monday’s Senate panel investigation of “leaked” Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency  (PDEA) documents linking certain personalities, including President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., to illegal drug use.

The Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs secretary disclosed that Kumar will not be present because he is currently hospitalized.


“We have invited Mr. James Kumar. However, as of this morning, his lawyer gave us a medical certificate indicating that he is now at the Makati Medical Center. He is confined due to some illness or stroke,” the committee secretary explained after panel chair Senator Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa asked if the business was present in the hearing.


READ: Garin urges Senate panel: Assess ‘PDEA leaks’ evidence first

Dela Rosa, while noting he is not a doctor, assessed Kumar’s medical certificate presented to the panel and then wondered about the timing of the businessman’s admission to the hospital, adding that Kumar has “committed” to attending the probe.

Later into the hearing, Kumar tried attending the probe virtually. He, however, was not allowed by Dela Rosa who noted that this committee will not be an instrument to the deterioration of someone’s health.

“I have reservations. Please understand my position that it’s not good to see someone in a hospital bed, being interrogated. I apologize, I don’t want it. I appreciate his interest to be present online, but I don’t want this committee to take part in the deterioration of his health,” said Dela Rosa in a mix of English and Filipino.

In a separate statement also issued Monday, Kumar denied his alleged involvement in the controversies surrounding the allegedly leaked PDEA documents.

“I do not know former PDEA Agent [Jonathan] Morales, nor was I aware of the issue he is involved in and subject of the Senate inquiry. I only learned of the issue, and agent Morales, and “Romy” after my name was mentioned by blogger Maharlika on 04 May 2024. In fact, I was not aware of the ‘Mekus Mekus’ allegation the day before,” said Kumar.


READ: Source of leaked PDEA papers a liar, says ex-boss

“I categorically deny the alleged three-way call between former Agent Santiago, myself and ‘LAM’. The claim itself is unbelievable, and any logical person would see the absurdity of the claim,” he said.

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Kumar admitted that he “contributed” during the campaign of “Team Unity,” which was a banner slogan of the tandem of Marcos and Sara Duterte during the 2022 presidential and vice-presidential elections. But he maintained that his “conscience is clear.”

TAGS: PDEA leaks, Senate investigation

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