‘De Lima, Trillanes liable for unparliamentary acts’ – joint panel

Camille Elemia
‘De Lima, Trillanes liable for unparliamentary acts’ – joint panel
'Both should be held accountable in order to preserve the integrity of the Senate,' says a Senate committee report, criticizing the two senators' behavior during the probe into extrajudicial killings

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate joint panel that probed extrajudicial killings in the country said senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV should be held liable for their “unparliamentary acts.”

This was among the recommendations of the Senate committee on justice and human rights as well as the committee on public order in their 88-page report submitted on Wednesday, December 7. (READ: Senate panels to Duterte: Follow the law)

The report called out De Lima and Trillanes for their actions during the probe.

“All these manifest unparliamentary conduct committed by senators De Lima and Trillanes for which both should be held accountable in order to preserve the integrity of the Senate,” the report said.

Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate justice committee, earlier denounced Trillanes for allowing witness Edgar Matobato to leave the premises without his approval.

Gordon also accused De Lima of “material concealment” for supposedly hiding the kidnapping case against Matobato, who had accused President Rodrigo Duterte of ordering killings in Davao City.

This led to De Lima and Gordon’s heated exchange on the floor and to the lady senator’s eventual walkout. (READ: De Lima walks out after Gordon chastises her)

Senate transcripts, however, showed Matobato himself mentioned the kidnapping case twice.

Gordon and other senators have repeatedly questioned Matobato’s credibility, pointing out his supposed inconsistencies. (READ: Edgar Matobato: Liar or truth-teller?)

“It would be hard to believe that the disappearance of Matobato and the walkout are not part of a strategy to protect a lying witness. When it was clear that Matobato’s failure to reveal the real accused would be cornered with the damaging information presented by the NBI, he was conveniently whisked away,” the report said.

“Thus, Senator Trillanes and Senator De Lima must be faulted for their unparliamentary conduct,” it added.

The report said Trillanes’ act was “unethical” and “insulting,” as other senators endured the long hours of the hearing. De Lima’s walkout and “histrionics,” it added, was “conduct unbecoming of an elected senator.” 

The joint panel also cleared Duterte of any liability for the extrajudicial killings and rejected the existence of the alleged vigilante group Davao Death Squad.

It also urged the President to “follow the law” in his implementation of his war on drugs– 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