• Senate ethics panel to decide on complaint vs de Lima

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    THE SENATE Committee on Ethics and Privileges is expected to decide this week if it will give due course or not to an ethics complaint filed against Sen. Leila de Lima.

    Senate Majority Leader Vincente Sotto 3rd said the committee would hold an organizational hearing Tuesday and distribute the copies of the complaint to its members.

    Sotto, chairman of the ethics committee, admitted he had yet read to the complaint thoroughly.

    “We only constituted the committee because there is a complaint. If you remember the committee was not constituted during the previous Congress,” Sotto said.

    The Senate majority leader was referring to the complaint-affidavit filed by lawyer Abelardo de Jesus against de Lima in relation to her supposed involvement in the illegal drug trade.

    Sotto said that as chairman of the committee, his first move would be to conduct a background check on the complainant.

    As for the content of the complaint, Sotto said the complainant raised at least 12 points, some of them similar to the allegations made recently by President Rodrigo Duterte against the neophyte senator, including her supposed affair with her driver-bodyguard.

    The committee may junk the complaint if it finds that there is no basis for the panel look into it, since the allegations made against de Lima happened when she was secretary of Justice under the previous Aquino administration.

    The senator noted that it would be difficult for the committee to place a senator under investigation if the allegations were based on actions committed when he or she was not yet a member of the chamber.

    If members of the committee agree to proceed with the investigation, Sotto said he would ask the complainant to face the panel first.

    De Lima will also be given a copy of the complaint to allow her to answer the allegations raised by de Jesus.

    Asked what sanctions a senator might face, Sotto said the Senate, by a vote of two-thirds of all its members, could reprimand, suspend or even expel a senator.

    Ethics complaints against senators are not common. The last time the ethics committee conducted an investigation against one of its members was in 2001, when the late senator Renato Cayetano was the subject of an ethics probe.

    Cayetano, father of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano and Taguig Rep. Pia Cayetano, was accused of using his office to acquire shares in gaming firm Best World Resources, whose price was said to have been manipulated by stock market players in 1999.

    Sotto said the Cayetano case was not finished because of lack of time.

    JV’s suspension
    The Senate meanwhile is unlikely to impose the 90-day preventive suspension issued by the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court against Sen. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, because the order may no longer be applicable.

    Since Ejercito is no longer mayor of San Juan, there is no way for him to influence the investigation, Sotto argued.

    Ejercito is facing graft charges for the alleged misuse of the calamity fund of San Juan to buy firearms for policemen in 2008. The senator has denied any wrongdoing.

    For his part, Ejercito said he was studying his options including the filing of a motion for reconsideration before the Sandiganbayan, upon the advise of Senate President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd.

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    8 Comments

    1. Victor Arches on

      After Senator Lacson revealed during a press interview that the Upper House has no jurisdiction over the actuations of a colleague prior to her assumption of office, it now appears that the Senate has changed its internal rules to expand such jurisdiction.., perhaps to save face in light of the Lower House’s own comprehensive investigation into the proliferation of illegal drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prison during DeLimaw’s term as DOJ Secretary.

      The Senate, however, is faced with a quandary:
      1. It has announced that its probe will be held behind closed doors, away from the prying eyes and ears of the public. On the other hand, the Lower House investigation will be open to the public, and televised nationwide.
      2. Witnesses and documentary evidences will be presented openly in the House, while the public will be kept guessing on what will be going on during the Senate’s “executive” sessions.
      3. Should the findings of the House differ from those of the Senate, whose version will be more credible to the public?

      Could this be a prelude to the demise of the Senate as an institution, preparatory to a unicameral form of government under a federal system?
      Interesting and exciting days ahead, indeed.

    2. Talk about foul, the pork barrel thieves are still in the senate and house apparently getting away with stealing billions since no one will charge them.

    3. As senator, she loathes CRIMINALS being shot to death. They are CRIMINALS for creating “walking dead drug addicts.” Hence, the committee hearings. Compared with her attitude as DOJ chief. INNOCENT victims were being shot to death here and there on a daily basis almost. Those killed criminals add to their crime when the addicts they have borne engender multiplier effect like rape-murder, car napping-burning-murder, etc.
      She’s illogical, too. She sees the 2000 criminals KILLED; but refuses to see the 12000 criminals ALIVE but under arrest. I see her as shaming her Alma Mater.

    4. Sotto, chairman of the ethics committee
      —————————————————

      Vicente “Tito” Sotto III is on the Napoles list giving his pork barrel funds to Napoles in exchange for kickbacks and he is chairman of the ethics committee.

      Senator Vicente Sotto III

      Agent: Jennifer “Jen” Corpuz

      Napoles then detailed 7 amounts totaling P225 million channeled through the NLDC from 2010 to 2012. “In all these transactions, the sole person I talked to was Jeniffer (sic) Corpuz.”

      “At one point, she asked me for a Hyundai Starex that she said will be given on the birthday of Senator Sotto’s wife.” Sotto is married to actress Helen Gamboa.

      She said in all transactions, Corpuz asked for 40% for Sotto, and 10% for herself.

      Only in the Philippines

    5. There are forces who wanted to derail on the progress being conducted by the Duterte administration. No one in the previous administration have the courage or the political will to change the country of the mistakes mainly because the oligarch, mainly the yellows, who are few want to control the country. I thinks it’s now time to proclaim a revolutionary govt to continue the progress of change, and jailed these corrupt oligarchs and the yellows who want to agitate the people. Go on mr president, you have the backing of the Filipino people

    6. The senate as a separate body must fully stand with one of its senators. If this ethics case goes any further, that means anybody can just bring charges against a sitting senator and an investigation will follow. This is foul!

      • Why, is the senate a fraternity that everyone must fully stand with one of its senators and protect one another from inquiries? Shameless Yellow Turd!