Press Release
February 22, 2017

Transcript of Sen. Grace Poe's Manifestation

...Number one, he mentioned that we shouldn't allow this person to come over here and lie again to us because we should not give this person the benefit of doing so. I would just like to give my own opinion about this. Making him come here to speak is not for the benefit of this person. I believe that making him come here to speak is also for the benefit of those of us who would like to know what made him change his mind and why he is doing so. Mr. President I think if we were to judge based on the statements of the other resource persons that came here and we would reject them for having lied in the past, I think we will not have any resource persons left. There are certain self-preservations that obviously these individuals might have had when they first came over here to speak. On the other hand, I would also like to thank Senator Gordon for being upfront about it. Senator Lacson and I were discussing, at least he was truthful in what he's saying that he was not going to hear it, that he thought it was just a waste of time because what he could do as a chairman of the committee is just to say 'yes, it can be referred to my committee, I will sit on it and I will do nothing.' But then he said, 'if it's referred to my committee, I think it will be a waste of time and I will not hear it.' On the other hand, Senator Ping, I'm sorry to my seatmate but I think it is a laudable reason also for him. He's uncomfortable in breaking the collegiality between us and accepting the referral to his committee. Although I think he's a capable chairman of public order and I think he could hear this fairly. I could understand his predicament. So Mr. President, most of you are lawyers here but we have Sec. 14 Rule 10 of the Senate Rules which reads, 'Whenever necessary, special committees shall be organized, the membership and jurisdiction of which shall be determined by the Senate President.'

Proceeding from this and considering that the justice committee chair has expressed his objection to reopen the hearing on the EJK, and if in case the public order committee is not likewise inclined to do so, may I then manifest that there may be a necessity that a special committee be organized for this purpose, given the following:

1. The allegations of Mr. Lascanas are serious and appear to corroborate the testimony of Mr. Matobato. The Senate should be given an opportunity to test his credibility. It doesn't mean that he is telling the truth already by his coming out in the open or the truthfulness of his allegations in the interest of the public.

2. Mr. Lascanas may have perjured himself by making allegations that are diametrically opposed to what he had previously given under oath before the justice committee. This opportunity that we will give ourselves to hear and scrutinize these allegations before a special committee (that may be organized) would definitely not absolve Mr. Lascanas from any criminal act that he may have already committed.

Mr. President, you were with me in 2004 when no one would hear us about all of the fraud allegations at that time during the elections. You were also with us during the hearings on the fertilizer fund scam where the blue ribbon committee refused to hear it and it was the committee on agriculture that had to assume that responsibility. I feel that even if we have other venues like the Ombudsman and the courts, it is always the Senate that is the last bastion for the public to be able to hear all of the testimonies without limit. So I appeal to my colleagues, we may have our inclinations and political affiliations. But this is not for anyone, this is really to preserve also what the Senate has done in the past and that is a forum for the public to hear issues.

Now with regard to Mamasapano, it was mentioned that it has not been approved. We have a committee report, it has not been voted on but Mr. President, what we have recommended that charges be filed against those individuals, were carried on by the Ombudsman, usurpation of power, etc. And so with that, Mr. President, I thank you for this opportunity.

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