SENATOR Richard Gordon said that the Senate Committee on justice will come up with a report by Monday after six hearings on extrajudicial killings.
Gordon, chairperson of the committee, decided to terminate its investigation on alleged extrajudicial killings committed amid the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.
“We have enough to report,” said Gordon, before Senator Panfilo Lacson moved to terminate the hearings.
“By Monday, we will have a report... so that the public will be assuaged that we are all watching out for each other here. [It] may not be perfect but we will try,” Gordon added.
He also assured that the report will be “a sustainable report” as well as affidavits of witnesses of the Commission on Human Rights will be utilized.
Gordon also hinted that there is no more possibility to re-open the probe even if new witnesses surface on drug-linked slaying.
Meanwhile, Senator Gordon is not demanding an apology from the CHR since its chair, Chito Gascon, had already called him and apologized over the statements of one of its commissioners.
Gordon said he was satisfied with the apology of Gascon and stressed he did not suspend the inquiry but only the hearing.
CHR Commissioner Roberto Eugenio Cadiz Jr. accused the senator of “prematurely” suspending the inquiry on extrajudicial killings and called him a “coward.”
Citing a text of Gascon, Gordon said the CHR chair explained that the remarks of Cadiz did not reflect the position of the CHR en banc.
“Gascon keeps on saying sorry. I said he need not say sorry. I said Chito hindi po kailangan pero ikaw bastunero, bastunin mo kung hindi ipapahamak ka balang araw,” Gordon said.
“Senado ito, 24 senators elected by the whole country. There are no extra powers except that we are representing the country,” added Gordon, chairperson of the Senate justice committee leading the probe.
For his part, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano called out the CHR for slamming Gordon, for suspending the hearing on the alleged extrajudicial killings in the country following a heated debate with Sen. Leila de Lima over the “material concealment” of an information about witness Edgar Matobato.
Cayetano criticized the CHR over one of its commissioners’ remarks against Gordon, which several senators described as an attack against the entire Senate institution.
Cayetano stressed that as a constitutional body, the commission should have enough respect for the Senate as an independent body, including its processes and procedures.
“The public and the media can criticize us all they want... It is their right. But if departments, agencies, or constitutional bodies would be allowed to do this... then they are running the Senate. We are not independent anymore,” he said.
The senator made his manifestation on the floor after Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri delivered a privilege speech demanding the CHR to issue a proper apology to Gordon and to members of the committee.
Cayetano also took note of the commission’s call for the committee to come up with “fair and credible results cognizant of the latter’s independence and competence.”
Furthermore, the senator questioned CHR officials for their lack of initiative in conducting their own investigation on cases of human rights violations in the country. He said the commission is tasked to probe such cases and to submit their findings to the country’s prosecutorial services.
Gordon and De Lima clashed again as the Senate committee on justice and human rights resumed hearing the spate of alleged extrajudicial killings amid the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.
Tension started when De Lima raised two motions -- to allow Gascon to speak and explain the CHR’s side over a statement of one of its commissioners that criticized Gordon, and to defer the discussions on the death penalty bill in the same hearing.
When De Lima insisted to suspend discussion on the proposed imposition of the death penalty for drug cases, Gordon rebuffed her.
“You can’t control this committee. I don’t want another distraction. We can’t be forever distracted,” Gordon told De Lima.
“I am not going to veer from the purpose of this investigation,” he added.
This prompted De Lima to make a motion to defer the death penalty issue. Gordon shot down the motion due to a lack of vote.
“Hindi po appropriate na kung anu-anong issue ang hinahalo niyo,” De Lima said at one point of their heated exchange, to which Gordon replied: “Anong hinahalo? Ikaw ang naghahalo ng mga issue.”