In aid of legislation

>> Monday, September 26, 2016

March L Fianza

In the last two weeks, the atmosphere was considerably peaceful. All I could hear were the rains brought in by Ferdie and Gener who quickly whizzed by. Although their heavy downpour did not saturate the rain-thirsty rice paddies of Region 2, enough to make the farmers smile; they battered farmers’ houses at Itbayat, Batanes.
It was peaceful in the last two weeks, the only noise came out from the mouth of Matobato, the witness of De Lima and Trillanes. He was successful in gluing the eyes of millions to TV sets worldwide by spreading half-truths. The only part of his statements that were true were his name and age. All the rest were storya al-alya or pitiful fairy tales.
In the last two weeks, some of your honorable senators of the committee on justice kept themselves busy by scheduling committee hearings on extra judicial killings. According to De Lima, the committee chair before he was replaced, the hearing was in aid of legislation.
What I cannot grasp are the acts of Trillanes whom I voted the first time he ran for public office. I thought he would remain an officer and a gentleman who will always fight, sacrifice his life and career for the good of Filipinos, like what he did in the Oakwood Mutiny.
But what he did in the Senate hearing – shutting off the microphone of senator Cayetano and visibly bullying the latter on public television was unbecoming of a senator of the land. His true color since he started his career as a power grab was slowly coming out. I regret voting for him.
Evidently, he was lawyering for Matobato when he interrupted to question the manner of interrogation of Cayetano and Ping Lacson over the witness on separate occasions. The two respectively replied that they were only checking the credibility of Matobato which was very important as basis in coming up with genuine legislation.  
Another thing I cannot easily grasp is de Lima’s refusal to accept an invitation by the committee on justice in the lower house in congress to also inquire “in aid of legislation” why drug transactions were carried out by inmates at the New Bilibid Prisons.
By her refusal, there now appears a double standard because she scheduled her committee meeting that was attended by senator-members of the committee and non-members as well but snubbed the invitation of co-lawmakers in the lower house. At the same time, she branded the congressmen’s hearing as bogus and akin to a “kangaroo court”.
High-profile inmates linked former Justice Secretary De Lima to the illegal drug trade inside the NBP national penitentiary that was allegedly used in her senatorial bid. Members of the House inquiry said she faces possible criminal charges if she is found liable for the proliferation of drugs inside the national penitentiary.
De Lima fired back claiming the high-profile inmates have motivations why they are testifying against her in the House inquiry. She accuses the witnesses in the lower Houses of ganging up on her, but the special treatment she has been providing Matobato in her committee hearing in the Senate has escaped her mind.
A friend who works in congress who followed through with the hearings described De Lima and Trillanes as condescending senators who have not been showing respect to members of the committee on justice in the lower House by treating them as “second class citizens” of the legislative arm of the government.
While it is true that many of the members of the committee on justice in the lower House are allies of President Duterte, the other members are independent congressmen who were offended by De Lima’s pronouncements.
They vowed to participate in an authentic hearing to ensure the objective of the process which is to get genuine evidence and come up with the truth.
In one of the hearings, inmates testifying before Congress revealed De Lima’s cellphone number which was then her number that was being paid by the Department of Justice while she was still secretary.
She said this was a violation of her privacy. To some extent, that is not acceptable because she is a public person – an elected senator, and the phone number’s Plan Account was then paid by our taxes through the DOJ office.
Based on the affidavits of witnesses, shabu circulated inside the NBP. The congress committee on dangerous drugs asked the lawmakers to look into the source of shabu, but the witnesses claimed that shabu labs are no longer operating inside.
Same thing with cellphones, contrabands, truckloads of beers, and even concerts by singer-actors and actresses. How are these allowed to go past the gates if not for the permission of the guards? These guards should be called as witnesses in hearings of both legislative bodies.   
And how could VIPs or Very Important Prisoners build state-of-the-art houses ala Five-Star hotels without the obvious permission from authorities in the DOJ? When De Lima was SOJ, didn’t she see this as alarming? Can’t her partymates and those who claim to be “honorables” in the Senate see that too?
“Pu_ _ _ _  ina!”  Forgive me. I was only stressing a point, Duterte style.


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