Trillanes files ethics case vs Gordon
MANILA, Philippines – Opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Thursday, October 19, filed an ethics complaint against Senator Richard Gordon for committing "slander" and “unparliamentary acts.”
Trillanes filed the complaint on Thursday, while he was in the United States where he met with US Republican Senator Marco Rubio.
Gordon first filed an ethics complaint against Trillanes, who, in turn, threatened to file plunder charges against the older senator over alleged corruption in the Red Cross.
In his 27-page complaint before the Senate ethics committee, Trillanes accused Gordon of slander for throwing allegations against him and detained Senator Leila de Lima during several hearings.
Trillanes said Gordon called him a peddler of gossip in a Senate blue ribbon hearing on the P6.4-billion worth of smuggled shabu on August 31.
“You know, you’re so fond of making names here. If you’re making general statements, you better prove it. This is not a cockpit of tsismis (gossip). 'Wag ka nagdadadaldal (Don't blabber),” Gordon told Trillanes then.
At the time, the two senators were in a heated exchange after Trillanes accused Gordon of absolving President Rodrigo Duterte and his family of crimes. Trillanes’ remark drew the ire of Gordon and became the subject of the latter’s ethics complaint against the opposition senator. (READ: 'Committee de absuwelto'? Gordon, Trillanes face off in smuggling probe)
“Needless to say, such words coming from a senator, especially when addressed to a colleague, clearly constitutes oral defamation or slander as penalized by Article 358 of the Revised Penal Code,” Trillanes said in his complaint.
“Moreover, such utterances clearly constitute offensive or improper language which is in violation…of the Rules of the Senate. Clearly, if there was anyone guilty of unparliamentary acts, language and/or conduct as well as disorderly behavior under the circumstances, it is no one else but the respondent himself,” he added.
Trillanes also cited the October 3, 2016, hearing on the spate of extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration, when Gordon accused De Lima of “material concealment” for allegedly failing to disclose early on the kidnap-for-ransom case filed against witness Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed hitman of the Davao Death Squad.
Gordon had also accused Trillanes and De Lima of deliberately allowing Matobato to leave the Senate to avoid scrutiny of his testimonies.
At the time, Trillanes presented committee transcripts to show that Matobato already disclosed the case against him. Trillanes demanded that Gordon apologize to De Lima but Gordon refused to do so.
“Again, these allusions are in violation of Article 358 of the Revised Penal Code penalizing oral defamation or slander which besmirches my and Senator De Lima’s reputation in the Senate,” Trillanes said.
“Needless to state, respondent Gordon must be held liable for his aforementioned malicious acts,” he added.
Violation of RA 6713, lawyer’s code?
Trillanes also accused Gordon of bias and monopolizing hearings.
Trillanes claimed Gordon has been “threatening opposition senators with the exercise of the contempt power if their actions are not to his liking.”
“Apparently without realizing it, he talks endlessly about his opinions and his own conclusions to the point that even the resource persons are deprived of the opportunity to speak,” Trillanes said.
In addition to violating Senate rules, Trillanes claimed Gordon violated Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees and the Lawyer’s Code of Professional Responsibility.
Trillanes said Gordon would repeatedly invoke his being a lawyer to intimidate non-lawyers in the hall.
“Unfortunately, instead of exhibiting the trait expected of an ethical and upright lawyer, Senator Gordon has clearly shown conduct which is inconsistent and improper with his duties as a lawyer and senator,” he said.
Earlier, the Senate ethics committee found Gordon's complaint against Trillanes as sufficient in form and substance.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III is the committee chair while Senator Panfilo Lacson is the vice chair.
Other members include Senators Gregorio Honasan II, Grace Poe, Manny Pacquiao, Risa Hontiveros, and Paolo Benigno Aquino IV.
Ex-officio members include Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto and Minority Leader Franklin Drilon. – Rappler.com