House of Representatives

House lawmakers dismayed over ‘derailed’ Senate hearing on alleged PDEA leak

Kaycee Valmonte

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House lawmakers dismayed over ‘derailed’ Senate hearing on alleged PDEA leak

Senator Ronald dela Rosa presides over the motu propio public hearing on the alleged leaks at the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency on May 7, 2024.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

Ranking House lawmakers say the hearings probing the supposed ties of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to illegal drugs are tarnishing the Senate's integrity

MANILA, Philippines — Ranking lawmakers from the House of Representatives were disappointed over how Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa approached the investigation on a document that allegedly linked President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to illegal drugs.

In a press conference on Wednesday, May 8, House lawmakers called the Senate hearings a “farce” and said it was “derailed,” now tarnishing the institution’s integrity. They also said they expected more from dela Rosa given his background as former chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

“We expect him to be well-versed and knowledgeable, especially in rules and evidence and investigation,” Ako Bicol Representative Raul Angelo Bongalon said.

The Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs conducted two motu proprio hearings after a former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) employee claimed that a leaked document from the agency supposedly linked the president and personalities such as veteran actress Maricel Soriano to illegal substance use. It was dela Rosa who presided over the sessions.

“I don’t understand why [the Senate is] spending so much time, effort, money, and resources sa mga bagay-bagay na walang katotohanan (on things that are not true),” Deputy Speaker David Suarez said.

Congressmen noted that the witness, former PDEA investigation agent Jonathan Morales, has yet to provide substantial proof of his claims. They also echoed concerns raised over his credibility, citing a false testimony charge against him, among others.

When senators asked Morales about his source on Tuesday, he said he forgot who he got the information from.

PDEA chief Moro Lazo already denied the existence of the alleged leaked document during the April 30 hearing. Despite this, dela Rosa said he would “bet on [his] life” to back the authenticity of the said document.

“It’s very alarming to have this kind of inquiry wherein it is the chairman who is bearing testimony, perhaps? It is the chairman who is authenticating documents? As I’ve mentioned, especially in light of the veteran senators cautioning him about, nakakadismaya (it’s disappointing) and very alarming,” 1-RIDER Partylist Representative Ramon Rodrigo Gutierrez said.

‘Connect the dots’

Congressmen, however, are also wary that the investigation could ultimately spell out bigger trouble for the Marcos administration.

Karamihan ng bumabanat sa ating presidente ngayon is kakampi ng dating administrasyon, so hindi naman natin kailangan na ng scientist para makita kung sino ‘yung makikinabang sa mga nangyayaring destabilization na gusto nilang mangyari at sa mga ginagawa nilang pagpapahiya, paninira sa ating administrasyon,” Zambales 1st District Representative Jefferson Khonghun said.

(Most of those targeting our current president is allied with the former administration, so we don’t need a scientist to know who will be benefiting from the destabilization plot they want to happen and all the things they are doing to humiliate and destroy our administration.)

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Marcos has been on the receiving end of attacks and criticism from former president Rodrigo Duterte, who has called him a drug addict. Davao City Sebastian Duterte also called on Marcos to resign.

This all came after the government seemingly softened its stance toward the International Criminal Court’s probe on the war on drugs, in which dela Rosa is deemed the “muscle” of as the PNP chief then.

Former senator Antonio Trillanes IV claims that the former president is behind the ouster plot against Marcos as the threat of getting arrested by the ICC looms.

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But for House lawmakers, they want the Senate to stop the probe on the alleged PDEA leak altogether and have their counterparts focus on pressing national issues instead.

Wala hong patutunguhan itong investigation na ito other than smear campaign, (This investigation will lead to nothing other than a smear campaign),” Lanao del Sur 1st District Representative Zia Alonto Adiong said.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri also noted the lack of documentary evidence during the hearings and warned his colleagues, alluding to dela Rosa, “to be very careful not to use hearings in aid of political persecution.” – with reports from Bonz Magsambol and Dwight de Leon/

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