Congressman wants Senate to probe ‘Wang Bo bribes’ to lawmakers
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives is not the right party to investigate itself with regard to claims that lawmakers received bribes to support the Bangsamoro basic law (BBL), a congressman said Thursday.
Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles suggested that a “neutral body” like the Senate be the one to inquire into the allegations that a number of congressmen received bribes from Chinese fugitive Wang Bo.
“I have no doubt about the integrity of the House and the good intentions of the representatives pushing for this probe,” he said in a statement.
“But I think that the House is not the proper venue considering that it is the House of Representatives that is the subject of investigation. How can the subject of investigation be the investigator itself?” Nograles said.
He said he was making the proposal to remove suspicions of whitewash and “media bullying” in the investigation, alluding to the hearing on Tuesday when Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. moved to have Manila Standard reporter Christine Herrera cited in contempt for not disclosing her sources on the bribery allegations.
The hearing was being conducted in aid of legislation by the House committee on good government and public accountability. It is looking into reports that immigration officials allegedly received bribes to prevent the deportation of Wang, a Chinese national wanted in China for embezzling $100 million and for illegal gambling.
The same reports said Wang was allegedly being used to raise funds for the Liberal Party and to muster support for the BBL.
“I don’t believe that the bribery happened but nonetheless, a neutral and more independent panel like the Senate should conduct the probe,” Nograles said.
“Being a co-equal body in the same branch of government, the Senate must be the one to continue the congressional inquiry on the reported acts of bribery committed by Wang Bo so as to ferret out the truth as soon as possible,” Nograles said.
He added that the House probe had become “too emotional,” considering that House members themselves were at receiving end of the allegations.
“I suggest that the Senate invite the witnesses to speak to them in executive session. Maybe then we can really get to the bottom of this,” Nograles added.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.