Pimentel’s denial of custody for Matobato heartless–Trillanes
Senate President Aqulino “Koko” Pimentel III’s decision to reject a witness Senate custody was “heartless” and “reeks of political maneuvering” to cover for the President, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said on Friday.
Trillanes was reacting to Pimentel’s decision to deny Senator Leila de Lima’s request as chair of the Senate committee on justice and human rights for the chamber to provide protective custody for Edgar Matobato, who testified against President Rodrigo Duterte.
“I am very disappointed with the decision of Senate President Pimentel. It fact, he doesn’t even have the power to overrule a ruling by any Senate committee,” Trillanes said in a text message to reporters.
“But even setting aside whatever legal technicality he used, it was heartless and reeks of political maneuvering to cover for President Duterte.”
“Fortunately, there were good samaritans in our midst who were willing to provide temporary sanctuary for Mr. Matobato,” the senator said.
It was Trillanes who made a motion during the joint hearing of the committees on justice and public order Thursday to place Matobato under the chamber’s custody. De Lima granted the motion and formally made the request to the Senate President.
In rejecting De Lima’s request, Pimentel explained that there was nothing in the Senate rules to justify it and that there was no indication that the witness’ life was in danger.
“I intend to run the Senate based on rules. I’ve denied the request for protective custody of the witness Matobato because there’s no Senate rule to justify it,” the Senate leader said Thursday night.
“There’s even no showing that his life or safety is threatened. Worse, the witness’ testimony is not even relevant to the resolution being investigated,” Pimentel said. CDG/rga
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