Only Supreme Court can stop Senate probe: Lacson

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 12 2016 10:59 AM | Updated as of Jul 12 2016 11:28 AM

MANILA - Senator Panfilo Lacson on Tuesday said only the Supreme Court, not the Solicitor General, can stop the Senate from investigating the spate of drug-related killings in the country.

Speaking to radio DZMM, Lacson described as "arrogant" Solicitor General Jose Calida's statement that police officials can snub any congressional inquiry on alleged extrajudicial killings of drug suspects.

"Yung sinabi ni Solgen Calida, that's a bit arogante atsaka high handed ang pagkasabi niya dahil ang pwede lamang magpapigil sa amin, yung magpatawag, ay Korte Suprema pagka mayroong nakita na grave abuse of discretion," he said.

PNP can snub Senate probe, says SolGen

He pointed out that the Supreme Court had already upheld the power of Congress to conduct investigations in aid of legislation and summon resource persons after the Arroyo administration barred top government officials from attending a congressional probe in 2006.

In its decision, the SC struck down two portions of Executive Order No. 464 of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo that bars Cabinet members, police and military generals, and senior national security officials from appearing before congressional hearings unless the President gives permission.

Lacson said the SC decision asserted the right of the President to forbid executive officials from attending the question hour of Congress "especially if there are national security concerns involved."

"Otherwise, hindi kami pwedeng pigilan nang maski sino, much less the SolGen, para sabihing isnabin niyo yan, wag kayong pumunta diyan. Mali yata yun," he said.

PREMATURE

On the other hand, Lacson said Senator Leila de Lima's proposal for a Senate investigation on the spate of killings of drug suspects is premature, saying there is insufficient basis to call for a congressional inquiry.

"Wala pa akong nakikita na medyo sufficient na basehan para magpatawag ng investigation at ipatawag ang pulis. Otherwise, baka ma akusahan kami na nagfi-fishing expedition..." he said in an interview.

He added: "Has anyone come forward and said they witnessed a summary execution? Or that they participated?"

More than 300 people have died in killings related to illegal drugs in the past two months, according to data compiled by the ABS-CBN Investigative and Research Group.

This is higher than the 110 drug suspects reported killed by police since President Rodrigo Duterte won the May 2016 elections.

WATCH: More than 300 dead in drug-related killings

Sen. De Lima, a former Justice Secretary and head of the Commission on Human Rights, earlier said there are "telltale signs" that some of the drug suspects being killed by law enforcers are victims of summary executions.

"Nakakaduda yung explanation na nanlaban, nang-agaw..." she said.

De Lima to SolGen: I will not be intimidated

She rejected the Solicitor General's claim that a complaint must be filed first before the Senate can open an investigation on the killings in aid of legislation.

Lacson said senators will need to deliberate on whether or not to pursue an inquiry on drug-related killings. He said de Lima's resolution should indicate what type of legislation could be crafted as a result of the investigation.