Aquino should keep hands off Senate subpanel’s Binay probe, says Pimentel
MANILA, Philippines — President Benigno Aquino III should keep his hands off the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee investigating allegations against the Vice President, Senator Aquilino ‘Koko” Pimentel III said on Wednesday.
“Dapat hands-off ang Presidente sa (The President should be hands-off in the) conduct of legislative investigation especially of the Blue Ribbon because what if there’s an investigation of a department secretary or someone closely identified with the President sometime in the future? Can he still advise the committee to speed up or terminate the investigation or how to conduct the investigation?” Pimentel, chairman of the subcommittee, said in a text message to reporters.
“That would be a dangerous precedent and could be misconstrued as interference with a co-equal branch of government,” he said, reacting to the President’s reported questions raised over the ongoing investigation being conducted by the subcommittee into the allegations of anomalies being hurled against Vice President Jejomar Binay.
Pimentel said that instead of meddling with the affairs of the Senate, the President should impose a deadline to the separate investigation being conducted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on the same issues against Binay.
“May investigation naman any DOJ sa same subject so dapat DOJ ang bigyan n’ya ng deadline, huwag ang Senado because ang DOJ ang under sa kanya,” the senator added.
(The DOJ has its own investigation of the same subject so he should be giving the DOJ a deadline—not the Senate—because it is the DOJ that is under him.)
Senate President Franklin Drilon earlier said he would leave it up to the subcommittee to decide whether or not to wrap up its investigation.
“Syempre papakinggan natin, ngunit ‘yung pagpasya kung sapat na ‘yung nalikom na materyales at testimonya ay nasa subcommittee chairman at sa mga miyembro nito,” Drilon said over radio.
(Of course, we would listen (to the suggestion), but the decision as to whether the gathered evidence and testimonies are already enough or not lies on the subcommittee’s chairman and members.)
“Hindi natin pwedeng itigil na tayo lang dahil iyan ay dapat pagbotohan ng komite kung sa tingin nila ay sapat na ang kanilang ebidensya,” he said.
(We can’t stop it on our own, because it is the (subcommittee) which will vote if it has enough evidence already.)
Asked if he would then meet the subcommittee to get its consensus, Drilon said: “I am sure they will consider that in the process of their decision making.”
But the Senate leader asserted the authority of each senator to look into any issue presented before a committee.
“Dito po sinasabi ng komite na mayroon pang ibang building na kanilang ibig tingnan. Iyan po ay karapatan at kapangyarihan ng komite,” Drilon said.
(The committee still wants to look other buildings. It has the right and authority to do so.)
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