Tatad debates Trillanes
MANILA, Philippines—The Quezon City forum on Saturday where Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV chose to ventilate his views on the alleged corruption in Makati heated up when former Sen. Francisco Tatad commented that the Senate had lost its moral authority to investigate anyone after some senators were accused of being bribed to convict the impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona.
“When Senate hearings become a police precinct, I’m dismayed and I don’t participate. Whether the Binays are guilty or not, there’s the Ombudsman. Let the judicial process take its course,” Tatad said.
There followed an exchange between the incumbent and former senators on corruption and the duties of a senator.
Trillanes said “the statement that there is already a case in the Ombudsman is a refuge of the corrupt.”
“Nobody has ever accused me of corruption,” Tatad retorted.
No record of corruption
Trillanes tried to explain, “I didn’t say that,” but he was cut off by Tatad, who was also minister of public information during the martial rule of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos: “No, no, no. I have no record of corruption.”
Trillanes said that aside from crafting laws, senators are the voice of the people on national issues and the Senate’s oversight function is part of the system of checks and balances.
“It’s very unfortunate that if during your time, with all due respect Senator Tatad, you [did not participate in committee hearings] because you missed out on the proper function of a senator,” he said.
“Please don’t tell me about the role of a senator,” Tatad told Trillanes.
“In my 30 years or so in the Senate, I was probably the only one who produced two books on speeches [that I] delivered on the floor of the Senate on important issues. The plenary hall is where you discuss national issues; there is no such thing now,” Tatad said.
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