Senate ethics panel set to discuss ethics complaints against Lacson

January 6, 2011 1:37 am 

MANILA, Jan. 5 – The Senate committee on ethics and privileges will have its organizational meeting at the resumption of the regular session on January 17 to discuss rules on how to handle the ethics complaints including one filed by an anti-criminal group against fugitive Senator Panfilo Lacson.

Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano revealed during Wednesday’s press conference that the committee will start sending out notices on Thursday for the meeting set to be held on January 19.

”We will have organizational meeting of the committee on ethics and first agenda will be the rules,” Cayetano said.

Cayetano is the chairman of the ethics committee while members include: Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Loren Legarda, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., Lito Lapid and Joker Arroyo.

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III and Senate President Pro-Tempore Jinggoy Estrada are ex-officio members .

Cayetano assured Lacson that the ethics panel will give him due process though he admitted that he has yet to see the merit of the complaints filed by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption against Lacson. ”We are assuring him of due process. We will consult the senators regarding the rules because it will determine what constitute the orderly behavior and also will determine what will be the coverage of the offenses by a senator,” Cayetano said.

Cayetano said the ethics committee will also review the rules used in the previous Congresses including the possibility of convening the Senate into a committee of the whole, the same panel that investigated Senator Manny Villar for his alleged double insertion in the P200-million budget for the C-B road extension project.

”The intention is to assure that I will not be bias or prejudice. We will not make rules in accordance with the pending complaints. I will be a mediator rather than advocate,” Cayetano said.

Cayetano said the decision to finally look into the complaints against Lacson is to show the people that the ethics committee amid many other priorities that the Senate has to address. Lacson left the country a year ago apparently in an effort to avoid the warrant of arrest issued by the Department of Justice for his allegedly involvement in the double-murder of publicist Salvador Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in November 2000.

Recently, Enrile ordered the temporary closure of Lacson’s Senate office for refusing to show up despite appeals from his colleagues to face charges against him. (PNA)

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