MANILA, Philippines – The office of minority Senator Francis Pangilinan countered the claims of certain senators that they were deliberately excluded from signing the resolution urging the government to stop the killing of minors.
The statement came two days after 6 of the 7 senators – Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, Senators Richard Gordon, Cynthia Villar, Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Manny Pacquiao – expressed anger after being bashed on social media for not signing the resolution. The senators said the document was not routed to their respective offices. (READ: Senators bicker over ‘exclusion’ from resolution vs killing of minors)
But lawyer Herminio Bagro III, Pangilinan’s chief-of-staff, refuted this and said the measure was sent to the “publicly available” and “official” e-mail addresses of Senators Sotto, Gordon, Villar, Zubiri, and Gregorio Honasan.
Pangilinan’s office did not route it to Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Manny Pacquiao, party mates of President Rodrigo Duterte in the ruling PDP-Laban.
Bagro said they sent the copy to the 5 senators on Thursday, September 21, or 4 days before they filed the resolution signed by 16 senators. They also sent a screenshot to prove that they sent it to the 5 senators.
“As Senator Pangilinan wanted to gather more signatures, on Thursday, September 21, at 12 noon, we sent the copy through the publicly available (http://senate.gov.ph/senators/sen17th.asp) and official email of Senators Richard Gordon, Gregorio Honasan, Cynthia Villar, Miguel Zubiri, and Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III. This was done to inform them about the resolution and to show the number of signatures, and to ask them if they want to sponsor it,” Bagro said in a statement on Friday, September 29.
He said Gordon “acknowledged receipt of the email on the same day.”
A day after filing it, the resolution and the names of the 16 co-authors were read on the floor. At the time, there was no manifestation from any of the 7 senators that they wanted to be co-authors.
“It should be noted that no one manifested desire to be a co-author of the measure. Senate President Pimentel referred it to the committee of Senators [Risa] Hontiveros and [Panfilo] Lacson,” Bagro said.
“Clearly there was no attempt to keep or withhold the resolution from the 7 senators. The Senate rules were followed. And most importantly, the Senate is showing that it cares to find justice for victims of all extrajudicial killings,” he added.
On Wednesday, September 27, Sotto called for a Senate investigation into a known anti-administration blog, #SilentNoMorePH, for calling the 7 senators “Malacañang dogs in the Senate.”
Villar also claimed that Senators Risa Hontiveros and Paolo Benigno Aquino IV are intent on destroying the majority bloc, which the two senators strongly denied.
Pangilinan earlier said he did not violate any Senate rules, saying there is no rule requiring that a resolution be routed to all senators. He pointed to the majority bloc’s resolution condemning the killing of 17-year-old Kian Loyd delos Santos, saying it was not routed to the minority senators either.
The 7 majority senators filed a separate resolution calling on the government to end the killings of minors. (LIST: Minors, college students killed in Duterte’s drug war)
The resolution had the signature of the rest of the majority senators and excluded the 6 members of the opposition. – Rappler.com