• Senate inquiry absolves Duterte

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    LAST HEARING Sen. Richard Gordon presides over the hearing of the Senate justice panel as Sen. Leila de Lima walks behind him on the conclusion of the inquiry into extrajudicial killings Thursday. PHOTO BY RENE DILAN

    LAST HEARING Sen. Richard Gordon presides over the hearing of the Senate justice panel as Sen. Leila de Lima walks behind him on the conclusion of the inquiry into extrajudicial killings Thursday. PHOTO BY RENE DILAN

    THE Senate Committee on Justice and Human rights on Thursday officially terminated its investigation into alleged summary executions of crime suspects, and absolved President Rodrigo Duterte of any involvement in the killings.

    “Definitely not,” replied Gordon when asked if the committee was able to find any indication of Duterte’s involvement in killings in Davao City when he was still mayor, and all over the country now that he is President.
    Gordon, in a news briefing after the hearing, pointed to efforts past and present to pin down the President over alleged summary killings.

    The committee, Gordon said, would come out with a report by Monday.

    It was Sen. Panfilo Lacson who made the motion to terminate the investigation, which was based on separate resolutions filed by Senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes 4th.

    De Lima was able to conduct three hearings before she was replaced as head of the committee by Gordon.
    Gordon granted Lacson’s motion to conclude the committee investigation.

    “We have enough to report. We will try to get it out by Monday, so that the public will be assuaged that we are all watching out for each other here. It may not be perfect but we will try,” Gordon said before terminating the proceedings.

    The development came a day after Malacañang announced that it had invited a UN special rapporteur to look into the alleged summary killings in the country.

    Denied

    The committee concluded the hearing even if there were still nine witnesses to be presented by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

    Gordon rejected the presentation and moved to take up the proposal to restore death penalty, introduced by Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao.

    Gordon’s decision to disallow the presentation of the witnesses came after the “disrespectful” statements made by CHR Commissioner Roberto Eugenio Cadiz, who called the senator “unfair” and a “coward.”

    Cadiz, in a statement issued last October 4, criticized Gordon for suspending the hearing the day before, as supposed inconsistencies in the testimony of confessed “Davao Death Squad” hit man Edgar Matobato emerged.

    Gordon called on CHR officials to distance themselves from the statements of Cadiz.

    “We are not taking the human rights out of the question. I just said, under the circumstances, kung pinagdududahan ninyo ang committee, huwag na kayo pumunta dito [if you are doubting the committee, don’t come here],” Gordon said.

    Gordon said CHR chairman Jose Luis Martin Gascon had apologized to him and assured the committee that the commission en banc did not share Cadiz’s position.

    No second

    De Lima attempted to give Gascon a chance to speak, making such a motion to the committee.

    But no member of the panel seconded de Lima’s motion, prompting Gordon to reject de Lima’s plea.

    De Lima appealed to the members of the committee to reconsider their decision to disallow the presentation of the CHR witnesses.

    The witnesses, she said, had been waiting for their chance to be heard by the committee since day one of the investigation, with some of them even traveling from the provinces.

    But Gordon did not budge and proceeded with the hearing on the death penalty bill.

    Gascon was eventually allowed by Gordon to give a statement to the committee.

    “We do want to say that we respect the honorable chairman of the committee as well as all the other members of this committee,” Gascon said.

    Not prepared

    After her first motion was junked, de Lima asked the committee not to take up the death penalty bills, saying the resource persons were not properly notified.

    According to the senator, there should be a three-day notice issued to the members of the committee and the resource persons to allow them to prepare for the hearing.

    Gordon called for a vote, but no member voted, prompting the chairman to turn down de Lima’s second motion.

    “The motion is overruled because there is no vote,” Gordon said, and called on Pacquiao to proceed with his proposal.

    The committee however was not able to tackle the proposed death penalty measures thoroughly because resource persons from the Philippine National Police, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the CHR were not prepared to discuss their positions on the bill.

    This prompted Gordon to return to the issue of summary killings, asking the PNP about the latest data on the government’s anti-drug war.

    The Internal Affairs Service (IAS) of the PNP said it was handling a total of 1,411 cases of killings of suspects during police operations, covering the period January to October.

    Lawyer Maria Lynberg Constantinopla, chief of IAS Intelligence and Investigation Office, said that of the number, 1,298 killings were recorded from July to September.

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    24 Comments

    1. from the start it was obvious why DeLIma was removed and this man put in her place: was to ensure that the investigation was closed down as quickly as possible. Whilst his report may satisfy supporters of the president for a significant number of others it will be perceived for what it is a whitewash.
      The measure of this man Gordon was demonstrated by his lack of impartiality on all levels the most telling being his refusal to allow CHR witnesses to testified because he was ‘insulted’

    2. Rodan Guerrero on

      Why wasn`t Aquino noticed when it comes to EJK? Records shows crimes had more rampant during his regime..but was very good in suppressing the media to keep it at bay. What is happening now is a result of the past regime`s negligence to stop drug menace. It is now very clear..De Lima is a DRUG PROTECTOR and who else are her conspirators? I just hope everything will be unveiled and all the CRIMES of the PAST ADMINISTRATION should be unmasked.

    3. David Michael Meyer on

      Insofar as I am concerned, I am content with this finding…Mr president what you say is true ;just “The way that you say it ..Our president is trumping Trump ‘”..Good on ya “” Mr President ..God Bless you and all who sail with you ”
      DM Meyer Phd Psych

    4. Stupid Duterte on

      Duterte wants to buy arms from China and will distance the Philippines from the West because it was China and the NPAs that financed Duterte’s presidential candidacy.
      When Duterte will be tried in an international court, his children will suffer the most for the court will take all the wealth that the Dutertes corruptly obtained through drugs and smuggling. The Duterte children will soon be like the children of Sadam Hussein and Khadafy. Let us all pray for this.

      • What gave you the idea that Duterte is guilty of something he did not commit? He might have a filthy mouth but you have to be smart enough to pay more attention of what he really meant in every word that comes out of his mouth. There were allegations of this EJK before and had been even tried and heard by the Ombudsman only to find that there was no alleged DDS in existence. Is it not more stupid of you whoever you are to conclude something and accuse someone through hearsay? The President is inviting everyone who wants to come and investigate him on all these politically motivated allegations aided by all bias media. You are free to come and do the same if you want to join the investigations and substantiate your foolish accusations! Oh well…

    5. Stupid Duterte on

      What else is new about the Senate and Congress. Both are puppets of Duterte. The members of Congress are all rubber stamps that they will always say YES to Duterte. They are so scared of him but the silent majority is not.Duterte will distance the Philippines from the West because it was China and the NPAs that financed Duterte’s presidential candidacy.
      When Duterte will be tried in an international court, his children will suffer the most for the court will take all the wealth that the Dutertes corruptly obtained through drugs and smuggling. The Duterte children will soon be like the children of Sadam Hussein and Khadafy. Let us all pray for this.

      • abnoynastupidpaaquinongbakla on

        And how do you want to be called? Brilliant? You are a complete idiot borne by a mendicant. Right? I bet as you write, you are wearing a lavishly embroidered underpants given as alm by your foreign bosses.

      • What silent majority are you spouting about? The jaundiced Liberal Party was battered “black and blue” during the last elections despite Duterte’s apparent meager funds whilst on the contrary the LP and the previous government’s wherewithal and advantages in all respect.
        You are fond of making sweeping generalization statements but I respect your right to say so, however you should support your own statement with facts and hard evidences and not just a pure and whimsical hearsay statement at best.

    6. What a waste this has been.
      weeks, eating up when it could have been wisely spent to tackle more pressing issues like Health, Economy, and Education…

      As the inquiry clearly stated, it was meant to find out the current state of the EJK in the country its causes, and use these to enact a law to address the same yet what was given to us was a series of stunts and cosplay led by Delima and her cohorts starred by Trillanes.

      public funds wasted in these senate hearings.

    7. vagoneto rieles on

      It does seem that President Duterte’s ‘ham-fisted’ method in going after Senator Delima is like swatting a fly with a sledge hammer. All procedures so far used, however, have been according to law. To fight…and really finish the fight…against graft and corruption in government, a leader must use all the resources available to him. Nothing short of this will do the job. Observe, for instance, the fact that a convicted felon is now in his second term as Manila-Mayor; the fact that the PDAF cases against three Senators will likely outlive them; the fact that the indicted ‘Binays’ will stay as an ‘indictment-waiting-for-a-trial’ indefinitely; the fact of the five Generals and those Mayors identified as ‘drug-trade-protectors…and, there are many, many other such facts. The President, in all probability, wants to put a stop to this nonsense. So, if he wants to use a bulldozer to level a termite hill…he should have…at the very least…our best wishes.

      • PDAF cases against three Senators will likely outlive them
        ———————————

        3 out of 40 past and present senators on the COA list, 20 senators on the Napoles list.

        Only 3 opposition senators charged, the rest allowed to keep their kickbacks and remain in the senate as long as they do what they are told by former President Aquino and now President Duterte.

        How can you tell if the government is serious about getting rid of corruption when they allow billions of the tax payers money to be stolen and not charge them.

    8. death penalty must be restore to punish criminals found to be guilty beyod reasonable doubt for committing heinous crimes.

    9. 1. It is all about providing concrete evidence and a non-biased/discriminatory justice system.

      2. Senator De Lima cannot be convicted on witness statements alone as it seems. They are tracing the money to her still?

      3. Senator De Lima is opposing the death penalty? Why? If she believes that the president is involved with the killings then that should be her ultimate goal. Unless of course, she is future planning her own predicament if she get convicted of the charges looming against her.

      4. Chairman Gordon refused to ‘entertain’ further witnesses against President Duterte. Thank you! I have no doubt that those witnesses are better actors. I maybe exaggerating but after seeing Matobato fail I have no doubt the opposition will try harder. More dramatic scenes similar to ‘Maaalala Mo Kaya’!

      5. 71 yr old President Rodrigo Duterete has been in the Philippines all his life, served as a lawyer and Mayor. Seen the good and seen the bad. ‘Human rights of the victim or human rights of the killer?’ I am with the victim.

      6. President Duterte knows a lot about the Americans than me so I will give him a benefit of the doubt that he knows what he’s talking about. He mentioned American war crimes and now I am very curious to learn more about that.

    10. definitely,I believe 90% of Ma2Ba2’s story . He is more credible than those convicted criminals presented in congress . DU3rtard is gulty of EJK .

    11. Mr.Senator Gordon, could that numbers to high to be measured of killed illegal drug suspects, of peddlers and of users be possible without a mandate from above? Could that numbers of alleged illegal drug suspects, of peddlers and of users who got killed by unknown killers be possible without a mandate from above? The President himself declared several times that he would kill them. Were those killings perpetrated by the unknown killers only be the unintended consequential damage by virtue of the present Philippine government plan to irradicate illegal drugs? Can there be too high of numbers being got killed without intending it? Looking at the cause and effect relationship over the many killings investigated by Philippine Senate who turned them down into the land of oblivion, I am puzzled why senator Gordon had not tried to dig out more the issue to unlock the truth on the mystery killings by unknown killers.

    12. Nothing happening here, nothing to see or discuss, let’s move on. Everything is just fine. Next!

    13. To Senator De Lima, it is impossible to convict a sitting president. Just br quiet and the more you attack, he will attack you more. There is no way you can win. You dig your own hole. I do not know if you are innocent or not but the mess you made in New Bilibid Prison tends to show that you are responsible .

    14. “We have enough to report. We will try to get it out by Monday, so that the public will be assuaged that we are all watching out for each other here.
      ————————————————–

      Nothing new about that, The politicians always protect their party mates which is a problem.
      When the Pork barrel scandal was revealed the Justice Dept only arrested opposition senators while protecting their liberal party allies from charges.

      The COA list has 40 past and present senators on the pork barrel thieves and only 3 opposition senators were arrested.

      • John Diefenbaker on

        Can you say cover up? And once the UN comes in and then International Criminal Court comes in … surely they will see this as a cover up and farse.