MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader and Ethics Committee Chairman Alan Peter Cayetano will inhibit himself from the ethics case filed against his sister, Senator Pia Cayetano, for alleged plagiarism.
Cayetano said it is only logical that he does not participate, adding that he will assume good faith on the part of those who will handle the case.
Cayetano pointed out that he even ignored his sister for a day while he was drafting the rules.
He also instructed his staff not to give his sister any special treatment as far as the ethics complaint is concerned. Cayetano revealed that his sister wanted a copy of the complaint but he said he cannot give a copy of the complaint until the rules are approved.
Cayetano said he eventually kissed his sister, apologized for ignoring her, and explained his decision earlier today.
He said under the old rules, complaints cannot be immediately released by the committee. He referred the media and his sister to the archives where the complaints are filed.
He also said there are 6 ethics complaints filed in the Senate, one of which has 3 respondents. He refused to give any more details pending final approval of the rules.
The senator said the committee will tackle if the complaints contain something actionable like a violation of law, the Senate rules, or it if affects the integrity of the Senate or causes embarrassment.
However, even if a complaint advances, it doesn't mean that the respondents are guilty, Cayetano explained.
He said the panel will tackle the cases one by one. They will also discuss the violation of law with the act of plagiarism.
One of the key changes in the rules of the committee is the requirement that the decision to advance a complaint be made by the whole body instead of just the chairman under the old rules.
The Ethics Committee has been authorized to conduct hearings simultaneous with the budget hearings in plenary. Committees don’t usually hold hearings when the budget is in plenary.
The other members of the committee are Senators Gringo Honasan, Loren Legarda, Joker Arroyo, Lito Lapid, Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos and Miriam Santiago.
Aside from Pia Cayetano, Senator Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto III is also facing a plagiarism case before the Ethics Committee.