Ouster not sign of De Lima’s guilt — Poe
Senator Leila de Lima’s ouster as chair of the Senate committee on justice and human rights did not mean that she was guilty of any allegations being hurled at her, Senator Grace Poe said on Monday.
In fact, Poe expressed sympathy for her colleague despite her decision to vote with the Senate majority that stripped De Lima of her chairmanship.
“Alam mo gusto kong klaruhin ito ano. Si Senator (Richard) Gordon, may kapasidad, pati rin si Senator de Lima at ako ay nakikisampatiya rin sa kanya sa mga pinag dadaanan nya,” Poe said in an interview over ABS-CBN”s morning show, Umagang Kay Ganda.
It was Gordon, who replaced de Lima after 16 senators, including Poe, voted to oust her last September 19. De Lima though remains a member of the committee.
“Subalit alam mo ang nagiging focus ng tao, imbes na yung actual issue ng extrajudicial killings, ay ang issue din dyan ng chairman,” Poe said, apparently referring to allegations by some of their colleagues that de Lima was using the committee to go after President Rodrigo Duterte.
De Lima , who initiated the Senate probe on alleged spate of killings in the country since Duterte’s assumption in office, is also being linked by the President himself to illegal drugs when she was still the Justice Secretary during the Aquino administration.
Poe said the reorganization of the committee, which is leading the probe, would also give de Lima an opportunity to defend herself from the allegations against her without getting distracted by the ongoing investigation at the Senate.
“Ang sabi ko nga, hindi nangangahulugan na sya ay guilty kaya siya tinanggal doon. Para sa amin lamang, para bigyan ng pagkakataon ang ating mga kababayan na hindi malito at ang mga senador din na hindi magduda na ang pinapalawig lamang ay sariling intensyon pero pareho silang magaling at para sa akin ay may mga matututunan din sa kanilang lahat,” she added.
Poe earlier explained her decision to vote in favor of de Lima’s removal as chair, saying the focus of the investigation should be on “the evidence and the testimonies of the resource people, and not on the personalities presiding on and hearing the case.”
“I believe that the case should be heard without the suspicion of bias against the chair or any of the committee members for that matter. Otherwise, the committee and the public get distracted with possible grandstanding, polar bickering and partylines,” she said. CBB
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