Alvarez insists no ‘hearsay’ in Bilibid probe vs De Lima
Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez on Friday refuted the claim of a law school dean that the testimonies of New Bilibid Prison inmates against Sen. Leila de Lima were all hearsay.
In a text message to reporters, Alvarez said there was no truth to San Beda Graduate School of Law dean Fr. Ranhilio Aquino’s statement that the House of Representatives inquiry in aid of legislation into the alleged drug activities of De Lima at the Bilibid had no legislative purpose.
Aquino also said the congressional probe was orchestrated by allies of President Rodrigo Duterte to specifically target De Lima, a vocal critic of the President. De Lima led a Senate inquiry into extrajudicial killings amid the administration’s war on drugs.
“It is unfortunate that he sees it that way while most of the people are appreciative of knowing the truth. We will definitely come up with the appropriate legislation,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez said it was premature for Dean Aquino to make such a comment, insisting that the House justice committee was not bent on prosecuting De Lima.
“It’s premature for the dean to make such comment. Let me remind everyone that the committee is not prosecuting anyone. It’s only establishing facts in aid of legislation so hearsay rule does not apply,” Alvarez said.
In an interview over Church-run Radio Veritas, Fr. Aquino scored the House inquiry as out of order, primarily run by Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre who grilled his own witnesses, the Bilibid inmates and National Bureau of Investigation officials who claimed De Lima earned millions from the drug trade inside the national penitentiary.
“I do not know what is the real purpose, very unusual, very unprocedural. I did not see a clear legislative purpose, what I saw is clear discrediting De Lima. If you say in aid of legislation, make it clear ano ba talaga ang binabalak niyong ipasang batas (what legislation are you planning to file)?” Aquino said.
“Saan na ang pagkakaiba ng (Where is the difference among) personal knowledge, opinion, conjecture and hearsay? Pinagsama-sama (They combined all of these) and the worst thing is if the ordinary Filipinos listen, they did not study the evidence,” he added.
During the two-day congressional inquiry, Aguirre presented high-profile convicts such as Herbert Colangco, and National Bureau of Investigation Deputy Director General Rafael Ragos, among others, who all accused De Lima of earning millions of pesos from the drug trade operated by her favored drug lord JB or Jaybee Sebastian.
De Lima denied the allegations and said Sebastian was a government asset in cracking down luxurious quarters of drug lords inside Bilibid.
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