House not right body to probe bribery allegation
The House of Representatives is not the right party to investigate itself in connection with allegations some lawmakers had taken bribes to support the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), a congressman said on Thursday.
Davao City Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles suggested that a “neutral body” like the Senate should look into the claim that a number of congressmen had 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,” Nograles said in a statement. “But I think the House is not the proper venue considering it is the subject of investigation. How can the subject of investigation be the investigator itself?”
Nograles said he was making the proposal for a Senate probe to remove suspicions of a whitewash and “media bullying” by the House, alluding to the hearing on Tuesday where Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. moved to have a reporter cited in contempt for refusing to disclose her sources who told her about the alleged bribery.
The hearing was conducted by the committee on good government and public accountability to look into reports that Bureau of Immigration officials had taken bribes to stop the deportation of Wang, a Chinese national wanted in China in a $100-million embezzlement case and for illegal gambling.
The same reports said that Wang was used to raise funds for the Liberal Party and to allegedly pay off some lawmakers to vote for the BBL.
“I don’t believe the bribery happened but, nonetheless, a neutral and more independent panel like the Senate should conduct the probe,” Nograles said.
“Being a coequal body in the same branch of government, the Senate must be the one to continue the congressional inquiry into the reported acts of bribery committed by Wang Bo so as to ferret out the truth as soon as possible,” he added.
Nograles said the House probe had become “too emotional,” considering that its own members were at the receiving end of the allegations.
“I suggest the Senate invite the witnesses and speak to them in executive session. Maybe then we can really get to the bottom of this,” he said.
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