Pacquiao moves to declare De Lima committee on justice vacant
Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao on Monday moved to declare the chairmanship and membership of the Senate committee on justice vacant.
The committee is headed by Senator Leila de Lima, who initiated an investigation on the alleged extrajudicial killings in the country since the start of the Duterte administration.
“Mr. President, I move that the chairmanship and members(hip) of the committee on justice be declared vacant,” Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao made the motion after Senator Alan Peter Cayetano’s speech, criticizing de Lima’s handling of her committee’s investigation on the spate of killings since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III immediately called for a one-minute suspension of the session but Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon asked to be recognized first.
“Just to point that under the rules, you can’t declare as vacant the chairmanship of a committee. There’s no rule that allows that,” Drilon said.
Drilon and de Lima are part of the Liberal Party but they belong to the so-called new “supermajority” bloc in the Senate that elected Senate President Aqulino “Koko” Pimentel III.
But Pacquiao reiterated his motion that prompted Pimentel, who was presiding over the session, to suspend the session. Sotto later called for a senators’ caucus.
Before this, Cayetano lamented that de Lima’s committee was being used to go after the President who he said is not only waging war against illegal drugs but also against crimes and corruption, among others.
“We might all lose these wars but the biggest loser will not be Duterte. It will be the economy, the political institutions and the entire nation. So why sit by and just watch? Why allow our institutions to be used that way?” he asked.
“There are 24 senators here. There are 30 committees. Senator de Lima is a very talented senator, a very experienced lawyer, an efficient public servant, she can handle so many other committees Mr. President,” Cayetano asked.
De Lima walked out of the session hall while Cayetano was delivering his speech. RAM/rga
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