Speaker baffled by Singson plea bargain in HK

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 27 2011 01:32 PM | Updated as of Jan 28 2011 01:13 AM

MANILA, Philippines (1st UPDATE) - House Speaker Sonny Belmonte sees some inconsistency in Ilocos Sur Rep. Ronald Singson’s statements saying he used to be a drug user and the reported plea bargaining agreement, where he will say that drugs found in his possession in Hong Kong are for personal use only.

“He admitted na gumagamit siya ng drugs. At the same time, he will prove personal use. Yun medyo...inconsistent that you’ve been using before but personal use yon,” he said. 

Belmonte, for now, refused to say what they will do next at the House of Representatives, preferring to wait for the final results of the case.

“So far, the only person pleading guilty is the lawyer... It [Singson pleading guilty] hasn’t happened. Despite everything that has been said, we haven’t reached the actual arraignment," he said.

Sanctions vs Singson

Meanwhile, lawmakers on Thursday called for sanctions against Singson in case he pleads guilty under a plea bargain agreement in his drug trafficking case in Hong Kong.

Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao said, "Kung halimbawa may confession of guilt, kung totoo may plea bargain agreement, alam naman na pag may plea bargain agreement, may confession of guilt in exchange for being prosecuted for a more grievous offense. Dapat may parusa yan, whether suspension censure or expulsion. Ako naniniwala dapat may parusa yan. Hinatayin na lang natin mangyayari sa Hong Kong at kung totoong may confession of guilt."

Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay said, “Siyempre, we’ll have to deal with it when the time comes. The House [of Representatives], as an institution, has to protect itself... Majority game yan. I'll have to wait for what Speaker [Feliciano Belmonte] will say. Singson is a member of the majority. I’d rather they be the ones to deal with it.”

Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera echoed calls for the House to wait for the final outcome of the case before acting on Sinsgon’s case.

“For example, we decide on this, this term, pero tatakbo siya ulit sa 2013. After that, he will be back in the House of Representatives. 'Yan ang umiikot sa aking isipan. Aalisin natin 'yan, tapos the people in his district will welcome him to represent them pa rin,” Herrera said.

Herrera, however, stressed that drug users don’t have a place in Congress.

The House leadership had been keeping mum on the Singson case, waiting for the final outcome of the cases.

Singson was supposed to enter his plea bargain agreement during Wednesday’s arraignment. That arraignment has been rescheduled to January 31 after the judge withdrew from the case.