Trillanes to Gordon: Apologize to De Lima for ‘false’ claim

Camille Elemia
Trillanes to Gordon: Apologize to De Lima for ‘false’ claim
'He should be man enough to admit nagkamali siya. He falsely accused a member of the committee,' says Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Senator Richard Gordon

MANILA, Philippines – After Monday night’s outrage, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV challenged Senator Richard Gordon to publicly apologize to Senator Leila de Lima for “falsely” accusing her of hiding the kidnapping case against witness Edgar Matobato.

De Lima drew the ire of senators for allegedly failing to disclose early on the kidnap-for-ransom case against Matobato, a self-confessed hitman of the Davao Death Squad, before the National Bureau of Investigation.

The issue prompted a heated debate among senators, with Gordon accusing De Lima of “material concealment.” De Lima vehemently denied the allegation and asked for Gordon’s apology. After failing to get it, De Lima walked out of the Session Hall.

Public apology ang kailangan dito (A public apology is needed here). He should be man enough to admit nagkamali siya (he made a mistake). He falsely accused a member of the committee,” Trillanes told reporters on Tuesday, October 4.

De Lima earlier said it was an “oversight” on her part but later on, together with Trillanes, presented transcripts of previous hearings to show that Matobato himself divulged the case against him.

Trillanes claimed Gordon and the other senators who criticized De Lima were 
“humiliated” by the release of the documents.

“Ngayon, hinarapan sya ng katotohan, pride ang umiiral. Lumalabas bias niya as chairman. Pero naghahanap ng butas. Kahapon nakita natin napahiya sila na ‘yung kinapuputok ng butsi nila na ‘di daw nagsabi si Matobato na ‘yung about kidnapping case, eh ‘yun pala nasa transcript,” Trillanes said, referring to Gordon, who replaced De Lima as justice committee chairperson.

(Now, he was presented truth, he let pride get in the way. His bias as chairman is showing. They looked for loopholes. Yesterday, we saw how humiliated they were that what they were talking about – that Matobato did not mention the kidnapping case – turned out to be in the transcript.)

“Dalawang beses sinabi ni Mr Matobato kay Senator Gordon mismo (Mr Matobato mentioned it twice to Senator Gordon himself). They wrongly accused Senator De Lima, which was so unfair. Everybody saw it. Napahiya sila (They were humiliated). The transcript was very clear,” he added.

Trillanes was referring to the transcripts of hearings on September 15 and 22, where Matobato mentioned the kidnapping case filed by the wife of Sali Makdum, the alleged terrorist that the DDS killed.

During the heated debate on the floor, De Lima demanded an apology from Gordon for his “serious” accusation.

Gordon quipped: “Don’t melt down, you’re melting down.”

At one point, he also said: “I will let you melt down and have the floor.”

Still fuming, De Lima threatened: “Since no apology is forthcoming, I’m walking out.” 

Speaking after De Lima had walked out, Gordon said it was an act of “cowardice” to walk away from the proceedings.

On Tuesday, De Lima apologized to the public for her “outburst” and said she is still waiting for Gordon’s apology to her. – Rappler.com

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com