On Mon, Sep 19, 16 senators voted to declare the chairmanship and membership of the Senate committee on justice and human rights vacant.
The committee is chaired by Sen. Leila de Lima, who initiated the Senate probe on the alleged extrajudicial killings related to the administration’s intensified drug war.
The move to unseat De Lima was initiated by Sen. Manny Pacquiao.
“Only four senators voted against a motion to declare all positions of the committee vacant. Two abstained. The members of the minority bloc headed by Senator Ralph Recto did not participate in the voting,” reports Maila Ager on Inquirer.net.
Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto immediately elected Senator Richard Gordon to replace De Lima as chair of the committee.
ABS-CBN News explained that “Pacquiao’s call came after his colleague Senator Alan Cayetano delivered a privilege speech slamming De Lima for her supposed partial handling of the committee’s probe on the Duterte administration’s drug war.”
“Sen. De Lima is destroying the President, destroying the Senate, damaging the country,” said Cayetano.
De Lima was seen leaving the Senate hall during Cayetano’s speech. She admitted that she walked out because she could “no longer stand it.” She said she will deliver her own privilege speech on Tue, Sep 20.
The report recalled: “De Lima made headlines last week after she presented a surprise witness, Edgar Matobato, who claimed to have worked as a former hitman of long-time Davao City Mayor and now President Rodrigo Duterte.”
Duterte’s spokesmen and allies have dismissed Matobato’s statements. Duterte himself has not yet issued any official statement about the allegations.
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