2 senators express support for Pimentel amid Trillanes’ ouster threat

By , on September 29, 2017

FILE: Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III (Photo: By Albert Calvelo - Public Relation and Information Bureau (original here), Senate of the Philippines, Public Domain)
FILE: Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III (Photo: By Albert Calvelo – Public Relation and Information Bureau (original here), Senate of the Philippines, Public Domain)

MANILA — Two senators on Thursday expressed support for Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III amid threats of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to seek an ouster against the former for keeping Senator Richard Gordon as Chair of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

“Koko (Pimentel) will stay as SP (Senate President). The majority bloc, all 16 of us are solidly supporting his Senate leadership. Thirteen votes to oust is extremely improbable,” Senator Panfilo Lacson said on his official Twitter account.

Meanwhile, Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito also tweeted support for Pimentel saying that there was “no reason for a change in leadership at this time.”

The two senators’ tweets came after Trillanes threatened to oust Pimentel if he would continue to allow Gordon to sit as chair of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

Trillanes, in a Kapihan press conference, said that Pimentel had a “passive” leadership style and allowed Gordon to act as a “defense lawyer” for President Rodrigo Duterte and his family members.

“Hindi ko siya mapapatawad nung inabsuwelto niya si Duterte sa EJK hearings (I will never forgive him for letting Duterte off the hook on extrajudicial killings),” Trillanes said.

Trillanes was referring to the time Gordon closed hearings on EJKs and the existence of a vigilante group Davao Death Squad (DDS) after he refused to listen to the testimony of retired cop and self-confessed hitman Arturo Lascañas.

He said that Gordon needed to be replaced because he was destroying the reputation of the Senate as an independent institution.

“Kailangan natin ma-rescue ang reputation ng Senado (We need to rescue the reputation of the Senate). He is the representative of the majority…he symbolizes the independence of the Senate,” Trillanes pointed out.

He also said that it seemed like Gordon was acquitting Duterte’s family and allies to get his favor.

“Inaabsuwelto niya ‘yung malalaking tao sa administrasyon. Ginagamit niya ‘yun as leverage to get favors from people in power (He acquits ‘big people from the administration. He uses that as a leverage to get favors from people in power),” he added.

Plunder case

Trillanes also said that he is set to file a plunder complaint against Senator Richard Gordon in relation to his alleged corruption involvement within the Philippine Red Cross (PRC).

Trillanes first accused Gordon of corruption within the PRC in a privilege speech on September 5. “…Hindi lang ethics complaint, criminal complaint din (I won’t just file an ethics complaint, I’ll also file a criminal complaint). I intend to file a plunder case against Senator Gordon,” Trillanes said in a Kapihan forum.

Trillanes earlier said that he would be filing a counter-ethics complaint against Gordon filed an ethics complaint against the former for “unparliamentary behavior.”

Go ahead

In a separate interview, Pimentel said that Trillanes was free to “go ahead” with his plans.

“He can go ahead with his plans. This is a free country,” the Senate president said. Pimentel is President of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), the ruling party where Duterte sits as chair. (PNA)