‘De Lima, Trillanes must be held liable for unparliamentary conduct’
A joint panel that investigated alleged extrajudicial killings in the country wants Senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV held accountable for allegedly committing “unparliamentary conduct” during its investigation.
In an 86-page report, the Senate committees on justice and human rights, and public order and dangerous drugs specifically pointed to the behavior of the two senators during their hearing last October 3.
It was during that hearing when Senator Richard Gordon, chair of the justice committee, accused De Lima of “material concealment” of information about the kidnapping case of confessed assassin Edgar Matobato.
After a heated exchange with Gordon, De Lima walked out of the hearing room.
The report noted that it was De Lima who invited Matobato in the Senate probe and yet she failed to disclose to the joint panel about Matobato’s kidnapping case.
“There was material concealment,” it said.
It was also during the same hearing when Trillanes allowed Matobato to leave the Senate premises without informing the two committees.
“The act of removing the witness from the Senate premises without asking permission from the committee chair manifested a complete lack of integrity,” said the report.
There was also an effort, it said, to “manage the testimony of Matobato to make him the best witness to establish the complicity of President Duterte.”
In his testimony, Matobato, who claimed to be a former member of the so-called Davao Death Squad, accused President Rodrigo Duterte of allegedly ordering the killings of criminals and enemies in Davao City when he was still the mayor there.
“His (Matobato) testimony had to be realigned to make it appear that he had personal knowledge of the vigilante killings and that the same were ordered by then Mayor Duterte, but as previously stated, they were all debunked,” said the report.
It would be “hard to believe,” it said, that Matobato’s sudden exit and De Lima’s walkout during the October 3 hearing were not part of a strategy to protect a “lying witness.”
“When it was clear that Matobato’s failure to reveal the real accused would be cornered with the damaging information presented by the NBI, he was conveniently whisked away,” the report said.
“Thus, Senator Trillanes and Senator De Lima must be faulted for their unparliamentary conduct,” it added.
The report noted that while the two had apologized for their behavior, they continued to assail the proceedings outside the committee.
“All these manifest unparliamentary conduct committed by Senators De Lima and Trillanes for which both should be held accountable in order to preserve the integrity of the Senate,” it further said. JE/rga
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