the opposition solons in the House of Representatives, the legislative inquiry into the alleged drug trade inside the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP) is a success – it succeeded in destroying Senator Leila de Lima.
In a press briefing, the so-called House Magnificent 7, composed of opposition lawmakers, said they opted not to attend any hearing of the Committee on Justice because from the start it was not “in aid of legislation” but aimed at pinning down De Lima.
Minority Leader Teddy Brawner Baguilat Jr., Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice, Northern Samar Rep. Raul Daza and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman expressed disappointment over the way the committee handled the hearing.
The four solons and De Lima are members of the Liberal Party.
Erice said he actually chose not to participate in the investigation because he thought it was “garbage.”
The solon cast doubt on the credibility of the witnesses presented during the four-day hearings. “
He likewise reminded the committee and even the Department of Justice (DoJ) that the drug trade inside the NBP had been proliferating even during the previous administrations, not just in the time of De Lima as secretary of justice.
“There is no vetting process, they will do anything, say anything. HIndi lang ngayon yan nangyari, matagal na ang bentahan ng shabu sa Bilibid,” Erice said.
“Kaya karamihan sa amin hindi kami nag-participate. It’s a publicity stunt. And chilling effect sa mga kritiko na ito mangyayari sa inyo,” Erice added.
Erice believed that the House probe is being used as a tool to cover up the EJKs (extrajudicial killings).
“Nagtagumpay na sila, wala ng investigation sa EJK, napaalis na nila si Senator De Lima, as chairman ng Senate Committee on Justice,” Erice added.
For his part, Lagman, branded the four-day hearings as a “comedy of error” because witnesses who are either inmates or agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are under the jurisdiction of the DoJ.
“The SOJ propounded and introduced the witnesses... Any case will be referred to him. He will soon file charges,” Lagman added.
Baguilat on the other hand challenged the DoJ to file charges against De Lima if they are confident she committed a crime.
“Dapat hindi na idaan sa VACC kung may kaso sila. Tutal naman ang basis ng VACC ay yung testimonies sa hearing,” Baguilat said.