MANILA - Senate President Franklin Drilon supports the convening of the ethics committee following complaints of Senator Jinggoy Estrada that he has been prejudged by the chair of the Blue Ribbon Committee in connection with the pork barrel scam.
Drilon said, however, there is not much time left before the end of the session on March 15.
He said the search for someone to head the ethics committee is also taking too much time.
“Sinisikap namin ni Senator Alan Cayetano at ni Senator Ralph Recto maghanap ng isang senador na pwede nating sabihing neutral, pero ang hirap, dahilan sa kahapon nga, sinabi ni Jinggoy na hinuhusgahan nyo na kami. Mahirap maghanap ng chair ng ethics committee,” he said.
He noted the Senate also has too much on its hands right now, and it would be best to leave it to the Office of the Ombudsman to determine if Estrada should face trial for the pork barrel scam.
“Sisikapin naming tapusin yung mga panukalang batas na nakabinbin. Halimbawa, yung sa Sandiganbayan bill, yung graphic warning sa sigarilyo, yung tax exemption sa Christmas bonus, yung FOI [Freedom of Information]…Yun muna ang aming bibigyan ng priority at we have only three weeks to do this. I think ang una naming tungkulin sa taong bayan ay mapakita yung mga reporma sa pamamagitan ng mga panukalang batas na aming tinatalakay,” he said.
He believes the Ombudsman’s investigation may soon come up with its findings.
“Siguro makapagdedesisyon naman ang Ombudsman sa lalong madaling panahon which, on the other hand, hindi po namin matatapos kung mag-iimbestiga kami sa Ethics Committee. I doubt it very much if we can have any substantial work by the time we go on a break by March 15,” Drilon said.
Taking the Senate floor on Monday, Estrada said: “If you or anybody has any goods against me, I think the proper forum is the committee on ethics. I think it’s unfair for me and [Senator Juan Ponce Enrile] that the outcome has already been prejudged…”
He said he almost fell of his chair when Senator TG Guingona, the head of the Blue Ribbon Committee, described socialite Ruby Tuason’s testimony as a “three-point shot, buzzer beater, winning shot.”
The following day, Guingona denied he had pre-judged the case, saying his only weighed the testimony of Tuason.