A member of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s legal team has called on Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd to oust Sen. Leila de Lima from her chairmanship of the Senate justice committee.
According to Lorenzo Gadon, De Lima’s “interference” in the hearings of the panel on the spate of alleged extrajudicial killings of drug suspects only aims to malign President Rodrigo Duterte’s image and divert the public’s attention towards the Davao Death Squad (DDS), linked to several killings in Davao City.
“Narito ako upang manawagan kay (I am here to call on) Senate President Koko Pimentel to remove Senator De Lima from the chairmanship of the justice committee because she is just using this committee to malign President Duterte,” Gadon said in a news briefing.
He said De Lima should have investigated the matter when she was still secretary of the Department of Justice.
“Kung talagang Senator De Lima [If Sen. De Lima] is true to her position or to her desire to correct these things, eh di sana inimbestigahan niya [then she should have investigated],” Gadon said.
“All of these are dramas and circuses being done by De Lima,” the lawyer opined. He stressed that the neophyte senator even admitted unclear answers during the Senate hearing.
“Kaya mahahalata mo na ito, drama lang para masiraan si President Duterte sa foreign press, [that’s why you will notice that it is just drama to demonize President Duterte before the foreign press],” Gadon said.
Meanwhile, lawmakers at the House of Representatives have invited drug lords imprisoned at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) to testify against De Lima.
“Narinig ko kahapon [I heard yesterday] that they are going to present convicts. Senator De Lima has already been informed about the witnesses and this is probably the reason why she has preempted a drama so that the issues against her will be diverted, para hindi mabigyan ng focus ang kanyang anomalies,” the lawyer claimed.
“The trouble with these actions is that the foreign press is picking this up, at ‘yung kanilang mga news diyan eh basta na lang sinasabi na there is killings in the Philippines [and their news reports conclude that there are killings in the Philippines],” he noted.
According to the lawyer, the foreign media did not even bother reporting the inconsistencies spotted during the testimony of Edgar Matobato who claimed to be a former member of the DDS.
Gadon believes that negative reports from the international media could only result in cynicism and adversely affect the country’s economy as these could scare away investors.
Aside from calling for De Lima’s ouster as head of the Senate panel, the lawyer also said the hearing should be terminated because it is not being conducted in aid of legislation.
“‘Yung hearing [the hearing]is not in aid of legislation, it is aimed to destroy the president,” Gadon said.