THE Senate Committee on Ethics dismissed several complaints filed against three members of the chamber during its meeting on Tuesday.
The ethics panel, headed by Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto 3rd, unanimously backed a motion to junk the ethics complaints filed by former Bureau of Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon against Senators Panfilo Lacson and Antonio Trillanes 4th.
The committee also dismissed the three ethics complaints filed against detained Sen. Leila de Lima by officials of the House of Representatives, Malacañang spokesman Harry Roque and a lawyer.
It was Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon who moved to dismiss the Faeldon complaints.
The motion was seconded by Sen. Gregorio Honasan.
“There is a motion to dismiss the case of Capt. Faeldon versus Ping [Lacson] and Trillanes, duly seconded and I hear no objection, so the motion is carried and cases number 9 and number 10 are hereby dismissed,” Sotto said during the committee meeting.
Faeldon filed an ethics complaint against Lacson in connection with the latter’s privilege speech linking the former Customs chief to alleged corruption at the Bureau of Customs (BoC).
Lacson, in his privilege speech entitled “Kita, Kita,” accused Faeldon of receiving regular tara (payoff) and a P100-millon “welcome gift” from brokers and “players” operating at the BoC.
Faeldon, in his complaint, said Lacson’s public and malicious imputations were all lies and he should be expelled from office or suspended at the very least.
During the panel meeting, Drilon pointed out that Lacson’s privilege speech is a subject of an investigation by the blue ribbon committee and determination of whether the allegations were true remains to be tackled in the committee report of the committee.
“This [complaint]is clearly forum shopping,” he said.
Faledon filed a case against Trillanes for claiming that the former was “at the heart” of the controversy involving a P6.4-billion shipment of shabu from China.
He said Trillanes should be expelled for serious misconduct and abuse of his rights and privileges.
Drilon, in moving for the junking of the complaint against Trillanes, said Faeldon has also abused his right and has made “very malicious” statements against some senators.
“If anyone has abused his right to criticize public officials, Faeldon is as guilty as anybody,” he added.
The ethics committee also dismissed the three ethics cases filed against de Lima for lack of jurisdiction.
Among the cases that were dismissed was a complaint filed by House Committee on Justice chairman Rep. Reynaldo Umali, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas in connection with de Lima’s repeated refusal to appear before the House justice committee hearing on alleged proliferation of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) and another complaint filed by Roque.
Roque, in his complaint, said de Lima allegedly conspired with Kabayan party-list Rep. Ron Salo for her to carry out her illegal activities inside the NBP.
Drilon, in pushing for the dismissal of the complaint against de Lima, cited a pending court case against the latter that is similar to the ethics case.
He explained that if de Lima gets acquitted in the Metropolitan Trial Court for that, there is no reason for the ethics committee to hear the pending case, which is similar to the court case.
Drilon cited the pending case in courts also lodged against de Lima and the committee’s lack of jurisdiction over the alleged violations she had committed.
When sought for comment, Roque agreed with the Senate’s move to dismiss the complaints against de Lima for lack of jurisdiction.
“I think it’s because of lack of jurisdiction. The acts attributed were acts committed before her assumption into the office of a senator of the Republic,” he said during a news conference.
With the dismissal of the five ethics complaints, the committee is now left with four complaints against Senators Risa Hontiveros filed by Justice Secretary Vitalliano Aguirre 2nd, Richard Gordon filed by Trillanes and two cases against Trillanes filed by Gordon and lawyer Abelardo de Jesus.