- Members of the Senate voted 16-4 in favor of declaring all posts in the committee on justice and human rights as vacant
- Senators who voted to oust De Lima said she is biased and too anti-Duterte
- LP Allies of De Lima were not happy with the decision of the Senate
Despite her efforts in the Senate probe into the extrajudicial killings, Senator Leila de Lima, who is known to be a strong critic of the Duterte administration, was ousted as chairperson of the committee on justice and human rights yesterday, with a 16-4 voting from the Senate.
According to some of the senators who decided that De Lima should no longer be the chair of the said Senate committee, they said that De Lima has become evidently “biased” in handling the probe.
“I voted yes. It’s better that we have a more objective chairman. Because I’m worried about the committee report- how it will be written, how the presentation will look like. There should be no slant, no bias from the very start,” said Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, who is President Rodrigo Duterte’s party mate in PDP-Laban.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Vicente Sotto III reminded that the Senate must remain objective in their conduct.
“What happened in the committee on justice today should serve as an example that the Senate should remain objective and perform its mandate in aid of legislation,” Sotto explained.
Neophyte Senator Manny Pacquiao made the motion on the floor for the Senate to declare all posts in the justice committee as vacant.
“The Senate rules were not being followed anymore. As committee member and chair, we should follow those rules. A lot of violations have been made. We all know that the committee should not be used for your personal agenda. You shouldn't show your biases,” the famous Filipino boxer said.
Further, Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito said De Lima and her allies are destroying the President and dragging the country down.
“It’s the whole country that is being dragged down already. In the pursuit of camps to discredit or to destroy the President's credibility, wittingly or unwittingly, it’s the whole country that’s suffering. Let's give the President a chance. It’s just 3 months,” he said.
On the other hand, De Lima’s allies in the Liberal Party, Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon, Senator Francis Pangilinan, Senator Paolo Benigno, Aquino IV, and Senator Risa Hontiveros, voted to not oust the feisty senator.
Drilon said, “Well, certainly I’m not happy, but that’s the rule in the Senate. This is the first time this happened. But we abide by the majority here in the Senate.”
Hontiveros stated that there was no reason to declare the chairmanship of De Lima’s committee as vacant.
“If there were issues against Senator Leila’s objectivity, the proper venue for this was the committee on ethics,” she explained.
Aside from her controversial outer, De Lima is also facing an ethics complaint for her alleged immoral conduct and alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade in the national penitentiary.