Senate of the Philippines

On 3rd hearing, Dela Rosa still fails to establish alleged Marcos drug links

Bonz Magsambol

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On 3rd hearing, Dela Rosa still fails to establish alleged Marcos drug links

File photo of Senator Ronald 'Bato' dela Rosa

Angie de Silva/Rappler

Senator Bato dela Rosa is persistent in conducting hearings on the so-called PDEA leaks, even if testimonies suggest that these were fabricated

MANILA, Philippines – “Wala po tayong hidden agenda dito (We don’t have any hidden agenda here).”

This was how Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa responded to Senator Jinggoy Estrada’s opening statement on Monday, May 13, during the Senate hearing on the supposed Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) leaks concerning the alleged involvement of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in illegal drugs.

On 3rd hearing, Dela Rosa still fails to establish alleged Marcos drug links

“Allowing the dissemination of false information and fabricated narratives not only undermines the credibility of our institutions but also jeopardizes the pursuit of genuine justice and accountability,” said Estrada, who was very critical of the sole witness, former PDEA agent Jonathan Morales.

Estrada questioned Morales’ credibility because of his background and the string of cases filed against him. Morales was dismissed from PDEA in 2013 due to dishonesty and grave misconduct. He is facing several legal proceedings due to estafa, false testimonies, and complaints for implicating innocent individuals. (READ: Estrada snaps at dismissed PDEA agent Morales for calling him ‘convicted’)

But Dela Rosa is persistent. He said that as chairman of the Senate committee on public order, he has the prerogative on the matter, including scheduling one more hearing next week.

“I am asking my colleagues and the Senate President that even though it’s just a motu propio investigation, [allow me] one more time, it will only be one more,” he said.

Dela Rosa’s committee has conducted three hearings on the so-called PDEA leaks, but the supposed involvement of the President has not been established. Still, Dela Rosa is convinced that the leaked documents were not fabricated.

The supposed PDEA leaks stemmed from a pre-operation report in 2012 that stated that “a group of showbiz and politically affluent personalities are frequently using illegal drugs” inside a condominium in Makati City. The supposed PDEA report indicated that Marcos and actress Maricel Soriano could be involved in illegal drugs.

Senators were lamenting the testimonies made by Morales because he couldn’t prove the authenticity of the documents he provided. Senate President Migz Zubiri said that “no pictures, no corroborating testimonies” were provided to them to support his claim.

Here are some highlights of the third hearing.


At the Senate hearing on Monday, Francis del Valle, head of PDEA’s legal division, said that the documents that former Morales claims to be true were just “fabricated.”

“These documents do not contain PDEA control numbers. These were intentionally obliterated. Most of the items therein are unfilled,” Del Valle said, noting that it was difficult for PDEA to verify the documents.

Unconvinced, Dela Rosa pressed further, “What if the documents were really not submitted? Will it have control numbers?”

Del Valle said that the documents would not be part of PDEA’s official record. “It may be just the personal files of the resource person,” he added. 

Negative drug result

Representatives of St. Luke’s Medical Center testified at the hearing and said that there was nothing irregular with the President’s drug test result in 2021 when he was challenged to undergo the test during the presidential campaign.

Cecilia Lim of the hospital’s drug testing laboratory said that the drug test results of the President came out in two minutes and 54 seconds or within the maximum waiting time of five minutes. But Senator Chiz Escudero asked why the President was only tested for cocaine, adding that a drug test should include all types of substance.

Altered video?

Estrada raised doubts on the truthfulness of a video from Morales, which was played at the inquiry showing Morales talking with Department of Justice investigation agent Romeo Enriquez. In the video, Enriquez was also talking with former National Police Commission (Napolcom) agent Eric Santiago via a phone call. Santiago was supposedly trying to persuade Morales not to testify before the Senate panel, as ordered by First Lady Liza Marcos, which was coursed through a certain James Kumar.

But in the Senate hearing, Santiago said that he purposely misled Morales and Enriquez. He said that he only did that to prove the public that it was easy to get invited to a Senate hearing, one just needs to fabricate a story.

Amid the Senate probe, former senator Antonio Trillanes claimed that it was former president Rodrigo Duterte who instructed Dela Rosa to hold hearings on the PDEA leaks. He claimed that it was part of the “communications plan” of Duterte to oust the President.

But a fuming Dela Rosa responded by saying that he can’t be dictated by anyone.

Zubiri, meantime, warned his colleagues to stop using Senate hearings for political persecution. –

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.