- Senator Manny Pacquiao raised the motion to oust fellow Senator Leila De Lima as the chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, the panel handling the investigation on President Rodrigo Duterte's drug war
- Pacquiao, a former Sarangani Representative who is known to be the number 1 absentee during his term in the House, is a close ally of Duterte
- Of all the senators, 16 voted in favor of declaring the chairmanship and its members' posts vacant, 4 were not in favor and 2 have abstained
A known Born Again Christian and a close ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao on Monday defended his motion to declare the post of Senator Leila de Lima as chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights as vacant, along with the slots of its members.
"I move that the chairmanship and members of the committee on justice be declared vacant,” the first-time senator said on Monday night.
Pacquiao’s motion to oust De lima from the justice panel seat came days after a former vigilante killer appeared and testified against Duterte who, according to the witness, has made the order of summary execution of alleged criminals in Davao City during his term as a mayor.
"Gusto po natin na ang committee ay para sa taong bayan, hindi lang pangsarili (We want a committee who is for the people, not one who only serves herself)," Pacquiao told the media.
Senate President Franklin Drilon, on the other hand, countered the motion. He explained that Pacquiao’s move is against the Senate rules.
"Just to point that under the rules, you can’t declare as vacant the chairmanship of a committee. There’s no rule that allows that,” he said.
Prior to Pacquiao’s call, Senator Alan Cayetano delivered a privilege speech criticizing De Lima of using the committee’s probe on the current administration’s war on drugs to go after Duterte.
Cayetano bewailed that the former Department of Justice (DOJ) secretary is handling the committee partially.
"When she got here to the Senate and got the committee, she refused to be neutral... Let someone else chair it. In my past speeches, I'm not asking that she will be removed from the Committee on Justice, only from certain hearings where we cannot expect cold neutrality," Cayetano remarked.
Admitting that she could “no longer stand it,” De Lima left the Senate hall during Cayetano’s privilege speech.
"What is destroying the reputation of this country are the killings! It's not me," De Lima replied when pressed for her reaction to Cayetano’s scathing speech stating that she is tarnishing the image of Duterte and the country.
The female senator said she would answer the allegations thrown at her on Tuesday when she delivers her privilege speech.