STATEMENT OF MINORITY SENATORS BAM AQUINO, LEILA DE LIMA, FRANKLIN DRILON, RISA HONTIVEROS, AND FRANCIS PANGILINAN ON CASE FILED VS SEN. TRILLANES

September 1, 2017
Photo source: http://news.abs-cbn.com

We view with serious concern the threat of the filing of an ethics case against Senator Sonny Trillanes arising from the incidents that transpired in yesterday’s Blue Ribbon Committee hearing on the P6.5-billion BoC shabu smuggling case.

The Senate minority bloc stands behind Senator Sonny in his desire to ferret out the truth and will oppose efforts to stifle dissent and silence the opposition that are essential in a vibrant democracy.

We cannot help but ask our colleagues in the majority if this is an attempt to harrass and intimidate a colleague in the opposition. There appears to be a pattern of filing of ethics complaints against senators who do not subscribe to the views of those aligned with the administration.

First were the cases filed against Senator de Lima sometime last year while she was chairperson of the Committee on Justice. One was an ethics case filed at the Lower House. The Senate majority then voted to remove her as chair.

Now we have this threat of a case filed against Senator Sonny that came after his line of questioning in the hearing led to linking Paolo Duterte to smuggling in the BoC. Is this ethics case meant to silence the opposition in the Senate and the critics of the administration?

We urge our colleagues in the majority to rethink their position as regards this threat. Even assuming for the sake of argument that this is not the intention of the Senate majoirity, the result of a decision of either a suspension or dismissal will have the same effect of weakening the opposition in particular and our democracy as a whole where dissent must be respected.

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