The Manila Bulletin Today
Aug. 31, 2007
By Christine Herrera and Roy Pelovello
AFTER a two-hour caucus, senators yesterday decided to tap three committees instead of the Senate as the committee of the whole to handle the inquiry into the “Hello, Garci” scandal.
Senator Rodolfo Biazon’s defense committee will serve as lead panel, with the blue ribbon and electoral reforms committees as secondary panels.
But the senators could not agree on whether or not to replay the “Hello Garci” tapes during the inquiry. Senators Miriam Santiago and Richard Gordon earlier warned their colleagues that it would be a crime to replay the Garci tapes, which illegally recorded conversations between former Elections Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano and a woman, supposedly President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
During the hearing of the rules committee earlier this week, Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Joker Arroyo opposed the referral of the probe to the committee of the whole, saying it would be less of a problem if the matter would be handled by an appropriate committee.
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano shared their view. “The senators thought we have to be sensitive to the pulse of the public because we did not want to give an impression that the hearing is all that the Senate will have to do and focus on if it is convened as a committee of the whole.”
Senate Majority Leader Francis Pangilinan manifested to the floor, after the caucus, that the referral of the investigation would be to the National Defense as the primary committee, and the secondary committee would be the public accountability or the Blue Ribbon, and the committee on electoral reforms. The manifestation was carried without any objection.
Pangilinan noted that the composition of the Defense committee is 19 senators and if the ex-officio members are included, it would practically include all the members of the Senate anyway.
“Therefore, these three committees are composed by and large by all members of the Senate and at the same time it would facilitate the committee system, the hearing of other pending measures,” he said.
“There was a consensus among all senators as well that the three chairmen of the committee will meet and come to an agreement as to the proceedings and to the date and the time of the hearing,” Pangilinan added.
Biazon and Cayetano have agreed to meet Monday to work out the schedule of hearings.
The senators left it to the committee chairmen to decide if the replay of the tapes would be allowed during the public hearing.
But Senators Richard Gordon and Juan Miguel Zubiri said they would object if the committees would agree to the playing of the tapes.
“We would object if it comes to that,” Gordon said, as he added that if they were outvoted on the issue they would go to the Supreme Court to block the move.
Zubiri said he would still have to consult the “legal luminaries” in their group if the committees would allow the playing of the tapes, although he earlier said he would join as co-petitioner before the SC if this is done.
The much-awaited verbal fireworks did not materialize as the discussions turned out to be lively and cordial, with light moments on the side.
Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said the consensus was the result of serious discussion, although he jokingly referred to it as “ping-pong diplomacy.”
“It originally came from Ping [Panfilo Lacson] and now it went back to Pong [Rodolfo Biazon],” Pimentel said.
There are so many BIG and STRIKING situations need to look deeper into by the upper and lower house, and I can't understand why this people who are receiving huge amount of PORK BARREL, tackles a past trivial issue, it is like a "A FISH OUT THE WATER" per se.
|« Previous Thread | Next Thread »|
Users Browsing this Thread
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)