• After De5 ‘The Unforgiven,’ who’s next?

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    EFREN L. DANAO

    EFREN L. DANAO

    THE swift, unforgiving “punishment” meted by the Senate majority against Sen. Leila de Lima should strike fear in the hearts of those still thinking of crossing President Rodrigo Duterte. They should expect an equally harsh treatment, whether they be from the House, Judiciary or even the media.

    My memory may not be serving me right, but I can’t remember a single instance, either in the House or in the Senate, where the entire membership of a standing committee is declared vacant. For this singular act, boxer (!!!)-lawmaker (???) Manny Pacquiao will end in the record books of Philippines legislative history for making the motion seeking to declare the chairmanship and membership of the Senate Committee on Justice vacant.

    Previously, committees are overhauled when there’s a change in leadership at the House or Senate. Indubitably, followers of the new Speaker or Senate President get plum posts. To the winners belong the spoils, remember? In between changes of leadership in a chamber, chairmen of standing committees remain secure in their posts. But not now, not in the Senate where “change” is promised.

    Oh yes, there was a time when the chairman and all members of a committee were replaced. This happened to the House Committee on Agrarian Reform during the Eighth Congress. Unlike that in the Senate, however, there was no motion to declare the entire membership of the House committee vacant. The chairman, the late Rep. Bonifacio Gillego of Sorsogon, and all his members resigned after the plenary voted down many of the key provisions of the bill on the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) that Gillego was sponsoring. With Gillego out of the way, the landlord-dominated House was able to insert into the CARP a provision that virtually exempted Hacienda Luisita from the law’s coverage.

    Ah, but I digress. Going back to the case of Senator de Lima, her unseating from the Committee on Justice could have a chilling effect on critics of the administration, whether they be driven by politics or by moral beliefs. Her opponents are not through with her. There is a pending case against her before the Senate Committee on Ethics (Yes, Virginia, there’s such a committee in the legislature) for allegedly allowing convicted drug lords to ply their illegal trade inside the National Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa.

    It’s doubtful if a senator could be held accountable for acts allegedly committed before his or her election, but the time of the commission may not matter much to the rabid followers of President Duterte who were offended by her dogged pursuance of extra judicial killings in the country. Just read the dirty words thrown at her in social media and you’ll feel the depth of hatred the President’s admirers have towards her.

    I remember that before the convening of the current Congress, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano was already vocal against having De Lima as chairman of the justice committee. He reasoned out that this vital committee shouldn’t go to a political opponent of the President. His stand was ignored. In fact, it was one of the reasons why majority didn’t support his bid for the Senate presidency. Now, Cayetano got what he originally wanted on De Lima.

    After this, what will happen to De Lima? I doubt if she’ll accept the chairmanship of another committee. Then, there’s the further tarring of her name by a House inquiry on her alleged links to drugs. Not the least of her worries is the protest against her election filed before the Senate Electoral Tribunal by former MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino who placed 13th in the elections last May.

    Maybe, had she been less assiduous in pursuing the issue on extra judicial killings in the Senate committee that she used to head, she wouldn’t be in the mess that she’s in right now. She had all the time to pursue that when she was chairman of the Commission on Human Rights but she did not. Maybe, had she confined her inquiry to recent killings, she would still be holding the reins of the committee. The fact, however, is that even before she presented Edgar Matobato as witness, she was already under fire. It looked like her enemies were only looking for a noose with which to hang her.

    My questions on her ouster as committee chairman notwithstanding, I must confess that I don’t sympathize with her complaint that the administration is throwing everything at her — not after she threw everything at former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo at the behest of then President BS Aquino.

    Oh yes, I would also feel no sympathy for the former president should he be charged with a non-bailable offense. That would be the day!

    19espiloy47@gmail.com

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    7 Comments

    1. If you followed the proceedings, you will notice that De Lima’s witness gave conflicting answers to questions thrown at him. Thus, I can only deduce that the guy is lying. De Lima did this to herself and must not blame anyone for her fate. She’ll obviously be prosecuted in the coming days and will experience what it’s like to be on the other shoe. Karma’s a bitch, ain’t it?

    2. previous status quo did not work for so long under ph setting. this time, an ordinary folk like me is willing to chart an unchartered teritory, which even braves before dare not go (from a famous song). sorry for those who may find themselves irrelevant under digong, he is walking the talk, the same talk he is going to walk before voters cast their votes, last May 9….what is 1 out of 10, anyway!

    3. As a foreign observer, I find your female senator a drama queen having psychological issues.

      If someone keeps on blaming other for their mistakes, something is psychologically wrong with that person.
      She produced a witness that was obviously lying. Now, the other side produced witnesses that seems more credible and she calls it a sham.

      If she did not commit any crime, what can’t she face her accuser ?

      • the problem tiffany is that the foreign press, like new times, were the first ones to get the story of matobato even before de5 presented him as witness in the investigation. did you notice during the privilege speech of cayetano that the first to walk out was trillanes?? some foreign looking guys followed him. cayetano then looked for the british members of parliament in the audience during his speech but he noticed they were gone. me thinks that the tactician used by de5 was trillanes

    4. As a foreign observer, I find your female senator a drama queen having psychological issues.

      If someone keeps on blaming other for their mistakes, something is psychologically wrong with that person.
      She produced a witness that was obviously laying. Now, the other side produced witnesses that seems more credible and she calls it a sham.

      If she did not commit any crime, what can’t she face her accuser ?

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