THE Senate leadership is cool to proposals to organize the ethics committee that will investigate and discipline senators implicated in the pork barrel scam.
Senate President Franklin Drilon said the chamber would rather concentrate on its lawmaking duties than organize the ethics panel.
Drilon said while the chamber welcomes the suggestion of Senate deputy minority leader Vicente Sotto 3rd to convene the ethics committee so that it can investigate lawmakers who were involved in the misuse of their Priority Development Assistance Fund or pork barrel, the passage of pending bills remains the priority of the Senate.
He added that no one wants to head the ethics panel.
According to the Senate chief, the chamber intends to spend the remaining three session weeks tackling several measures and pass then before Congress takes a break.
Congress will adjourn on March 14. Sessions will resume on May 5.
Sotto urged the Senate leadership to convene the ethics and privileges committee to look into the cases of senators implicated in the pork barrels scam.
The ethics panel handles all matters relating to the conduct, rights, privileges, safety, dignity, integrity and reputation of the Senate and its members.
“Public accountability hearings may continue focusing on the scandal and the scam and probably perhaps the whistleblowers, resource persons that will aid us in coming up with better legislation to address this kind of a problem. If we are going to focus on any member of the Senate, it should be the committee on ethics,” Sotto said.
He made the suggestion after a spat involving Senators Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada and Teofisto Guingoina 3rd over the alleged unfair handling of the blue ribbon committee hearing on February 13.
Estrada criticized Guingona for prejudging the outcome of the hearing for saying that the testimony of Ruby Tuason is a “three-point” shot.
Estrada insisted that the committee hearing on the PDAF controversy should be conducted in aid of legislation and not to determine the guilt or innocence of the lawmakers supposedly involved.
Drilon however noted that even if the Senate fails to convene the ethics committee, the Office of the Ombudsman is already conducting its own investigation on the PDAF scam and is expected to come out with its findings on soon.