THE Senate ethics committee on Monday declared as “sufficient in form and substance” the ethics complaint by Blue Ribbon committee chairman Senator Richard Gordon against Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, also chairman of the Senate ethics and privileges committee, said they will ask Trillanes to submit a counter-affidavit on Gordon’s complaint.
The complaint stated that Trillanes’ allegedly committed unparliamentary acts and language damaged the integrity of the Blue Ribbon committee and the Senate as an institution.
“A quick glance at the complaint and the attachment submitted to this committee would easily show that it conforms to the required form as prescribed by the Rules of the Committee,” Sotto said.
Sotto said parliamentary immunity must not be allowed to be used as a mode to ridicule, demean and destroy the reputation of the Senate and its members, nor as an avenue for personal wrath and disgust.
“Parliamentary immunity is not an individual privilege accorded to the individual members of Congress for their own personal benefit, but rather a privilege for the benefit of the people and the institution,” he added.
“What constitutes unparliamentary language is generally left to the discretion of the body,” he said.
The ethics complaint stemmed from a word war between Gordon and Trillanes when the latter insisted on inviting presidential son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, to attend the Blue Ribbon hearing into the P6.4-billion shabu shipment that slipped past the Bureau of Customs in May.
Trillanes had earlier insinuated that Gordon was lawyering for Duterte when he rejected Trillanes’ motion to summon the vice mayor implicated by Customs fixer Mark Taguba in the widespread corruption at the BoC.
Gordon has maintained there is no need to summon the vice mayor since Taguba’s knowledge of his alleged involvement in the Davao Group was merely based on hearsay.
Because of this, Trillanes called the Blue Ribbon as “comite de absuelto” or committee to absolve.
Taguba had told Gordon’s committee that Duterte heads the so-called Davao Group which facilitates the shipment of cargoes at the BoC in exchange for huge bribes.
Gordon then backtracked on his assertion that there is no need for the Blue Ribbon Committee to invite Duterte and lawyer Manases Carpio, the President’s son-in-law.
Appearing for the first and last time in the Senate hearing, Duterte and Carpio denied links to the Davao Group.
Trillanes, who said he is unfazed by the ethics complaint, said he will file a counter complaint against Gordon.