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Majority senators slam their alleged exclusion from Senate resolution

Sen. Vicente Sotto III blasted a blog site for calling him and six other colleagues names following their alleged refusal to sign a Senate resolution condemning the killing of minors. The STAR/File

MANILA, Philippines — Senators on Monday clashed over the alleged exclusion of seven lawmakers in the signing of a Senate resolution calling on the government to put a stop to drug-related killings especially of children.

According to the seven senators whose signatures were not affixed to Senate Resolution 516, the said document did not reach their respective offices, and they were not even given the chance to study and read its contents.

Sens. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, Vicente Sotto III, Manny Pacquiao, Richard Gordon, Cynthia Villar, Gregorio Honasan and Miguel Zubiri blasted what they labeled as an attempt to make it appear as though they were against the call to end the mounting number of drug-related killings of minors.

As a response, the Senate majority filed their own resolution expressing outrage over the killings and calling on government agencies to resolve these cases.

"We did not refuse to sign; we were not asked to sign," Villar said.

'We're being called Malacañang dogs'

Sotto, the majority leader, also slammed a post by the page Silent No More PH which described each of the seven lawmakers in degrading terms.

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The majority leader was described as a "plagiarist, bigot and rapist" who allegedly called single mothers as good for nothing prostitutes.

"I take offense in how this resolution is being projected in social media," Sotto said in a speech on the Senate floor.

He said that the article condemning them was made by a foolish and vicious person.

He also defended himself against criticisms over his alleged refusal to sign the document.

"I have never seen the shadow of this resolution so paanong did not sign? Obviously parang fake news ito. We're being called Malacañang dogs," he said.

He asked Senate President Pimentel to order the Secretariat and the Legal Office of the chamber to investigate into this post and "unmask" the people behind the Facebook page.

The majority leader also denied each of the issues hurled against him by the post.

He said that he would resign if evidence proving that he was either a rapist, plagiarist or bigot could be presented.

"Otherwise pakakain ko sa kanila computer nila hindi lang yung words nila," he said.

He also vowed to file a cyber libel case against the author of the post.

Pimentel and Pacquiao both condemned the killings especially of young people as they reiterated that they were not able to see Resolution 516.

The boxer-senator said that it seemed that the resolution reached only the office of "a chosen few."

He said: "I was not one of the chosen few. Kung sino man itong nagpapanggap na educated. Bobo yan."

"Sana hindi mangyari na ipatawag siya dito sa Senado. If I'm not spiritually renewed, ayaw ko ng bumalik sa dati kong buhay," he warned.

Gordon described the blog as "cowardly" and hit the failure of Sen. Francis Pangilinan to ensure that the resolution would reach all the members of the Senate.

"The perpetration of a resolution without giving ourselves a chance to look at it and sign it. That is a lie. To publish it is a lie," Gordon said as he described the act as "perfidiousness and black propaganda."

He added that disagreement was natural in the Senate, but it was important that everybody would be given a fair chance.

According to Gordon, he would have probably signed the document if it reached his office.

Pangilinan: Not trying to single out senators

Pangilinan meanwhile apologized to some of his colleagues if they felt that they were excluded.

He, however, clarified that there was no attempt to single out any senator and emphasized that whatever appeared on social media sites was beyond his control.

He also joined his colleagues in condemning fake and unacceptable materials about some senators.

Pangilinan also defended the filing of the resolution, saying that once a majority of senators signed the resolution it could already be submitted.

He said that this was similar to what the majority did in the resolution condemning the killing of a 17-year-old senior high school student in Caloocan City.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros also allayed fears that she and Sen. Bam Aquino would try to destroy the Senate majority.

Villar said that she was told this information by some "social media practitioners."

"They told me really that Bam Aquino and Risa Hontiveros will try to destroy us. I did not believe it. When I saw the blog, I thought this was the beginning," she said.

Hontiveros, however, denied the accusation and assured Villar and her colleagues that there was no plan to attack the Senate majority.

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