Controversial California senator felt 'unsafe' in PH

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Posted at Mar 31 2014 12:28 PM | Updated as of Mar 31 2014 08:28 PM

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Last Friday morning, the California State Senate voted by a 28 to 1 margin to suspend embattled Senator Leland Yee.

Yee will still be able to keep his annual base pay of more than $95,000, despite his suspension.

Prior to his suspension, there were already calls for Yee to resign, particularly from California Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg.

Steinberg said Yee refused to resign or take a leave of absence prior to the Senate session.

“Don’t burden your colleagues in this great institution with your troubles. Leave,” Steinberg told Yee in press interviews.

U.S. Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein also weighed in on Yee’s scandal. While she found it shocking, she said, “It has become clear he has lost the confidence of his colleagues and for the good of his constituents should step down.”

The suspension vote came after Yee officially announced that he was withdrawing from the California Secretary of State race.

“This was a very personal decision on the part of the senator. This is what he wanted to do in relation to that election for office given the circumstances of the federal case,” Paul DeMeester, Yee’s attorney, said.

Yee is facing charges of corruption and conspiracy to traffic illegal firearms, including rocket launchers and machine guns from Southern Philippines.

Balitang America probed into his affidavit and found out that Yee warned the FBI undercover agent he was reportedly connecting to the arms dealer, to be careful in the Philippines.

Yee reportedly believed there was a high probability of being kidnapped there.

The affidavit said Yee’s liason to the arms dealer, a Filipino dentist from Daly City named Dr. Wilson Lim, would not go to the Philippines without Yee — and that Yee was not ready to go to the Philippines until November.

Yee was quoted as saying, “Once things start to move, it’s going to attract attention. We just got to be extra, extra careful.”

In the affidavit, the undercover agent reportedly asked Yee about the peace agreement between the Philippine government and the Muslim rebel groups.

Yee reportedly claimed that the Philippine government was even funding some of the Muslim rebel groups in an effort to create a distraction so people would not focus on the corruption within the Aquino administration itself.