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Drilon: Relentless filing of ethics complaints cheapens process

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Monday took exception to the "relentless" filing of ethics complaints against a number of senators, saying it has cheapened the discipline process in the legislative chamber.

“I am concerned that the frenzy that characterizes the filing of ethics complaints in the Senate has severely cheapened the process and I urge the Senate to be more circumspect in treating these ethics complaints,” Drilon said.

Drilon made the call following the filing of an ethics complaint against Senator Panfilo Lacson by former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon over Lacson's claim about the former government official's involvement in corruption at the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

Senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV are also facing separate complaints before the committee on ethics and privileges chaired by Senator Vicente Sotto III. 

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, meanwhile, is set to file this week an ethics complaint against Senator Risa Hontiveros after she exposed in a privilege speech Aguirre’s supposed text exchanges with former Negros Oriental Rep. Jacinto Paras indicating an alleged plan to expedite the cases against her.

“Calls have been made not to abuse the process of filing impeachment cases. Similarly, the filing of ethics cases should be exercised with caution,” Drilon said.

“Insofar as I’m concerned, that is an aspect that I will be looking at when these cases come to the ethics committee for deliberation,” he added.

Sotto, for his part, said he was “seriously contemplating” inhibiting from hearings of the committees whose members include those facing ethics complaints.

“Kumbaga sa boxing, ako’y nag-referee na. Ngayon, dahil sa mga naka-file na complaints sa akin; judge na ako eh. Hindi puwede ang judge sa loob ng ring. Kailangan sa labas ng ring ang judge 'di ba?” he told reporters.

Sotto said he will inhibit if the topics are “focused on the issues concerning members of the Senate who have ethics complaints.”

Under Rule 10, Section 20 of the Rules of the Senate, the Senate President Pro Tempore and the Majority and Minority Leaders are ex-officio members of all the permanent committees. — RSJ/ALG, GMA News