Senators vote 10-7-5 to reopen probe on Davao Death Squad - sources
The online news portal of TV5
(UPDATED) MANILA, Philippines – Allies of the Duterte administration on Tuesday failed to block a new inquiry into the "Davao Death Squad", a day after a former Davao senior police officer made a public confession about the vigilante group and President Duterte's alleged hand in the killings purportedly carried out by the DDS when he was still a mayor.
It was learned from a reliable source that senators allied with the administration and members of the "Liberal bloc" engaged in a clash anew over the referred probe on the public confession of retired Senior Police Officer 3 Arthur Lascanas.
Efforts to overturn a Monday decision - to refer Lascanas' "confession" to the committee on public order and dangerous drugs chaired by Sen. Panfilo Lacson - are now on the back foot.
At least 10 senators "voted" to uphold the referral which was based on the speech of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, which effectively indicate their inclination to pursue the probe on the revelations made by Lascanas against President Rodrigo Duterte. Seven dissented and five abstained.
Tension filled the closed-door caucus prompting Senate leaders to abruptly call for the suspension of the afternoon plenary proceedings and defer action and decision to Wednesday, in another round of caucus.
When reporters tried to seek clarification as to what transpired in the said caucus, the senators remained tight-lipped, refusing to provide any details.
“I’m sorry I have nothing to report. May mga lakad kami kaya may hinahabol kami na time,” Senate president Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III told reporters after the said caucus.
But his claims were practically belied by Sen. Manny Pacquiao who, in an apparent slip of the tongue, said they have other pending issues still lined up for the day’s session.
Sources claimed that some senators aligned with the administration “proceeded” to Malacanang.
Among those who supported the referral to Lacson's committee, sources said, were:
- Franklin Drilon
- Francis Pangilinan
- Leila de Lima
- Risa Hontiveros
- Bam Aquino
- Joel Villanueva
- Sonny Angara
- Francis Escudero
- Antonio Trillanes IV
- Ralph Recto
Those who reportedly abstained were:
- Vicente Sotto III
- Nancy Binay
- Panfilo Lacson
- Loren Legarda
- Gregorio Honasan
Those who stood against the proposed probe were:
- Richard Gordon
- Sherwin Gatchalian
- Cynthia Villar
- Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri
- Manny Pacquiao
- JV Ejercito
- Koko Pimentel
Absent were Senators Grace Poe and Alan Peter Cayetano.
Pacquiao said that another caucus would be called by Pimentel on Wednesday to discuss the matter.
"Yesterday there was privilege by Senator Trillanes on Lascanas, that privilege speech was delivered, the privilege speech was referred to the committee on public order," Drilon said.
"So that's where it stands. It has not been changed, and as we talk the referral stands," Drilon added.