Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, gestures as he questioned witnesses at the resumption of the Senate probe on extrajudicial killings in the continuing "war on drugs" campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte on October 3.
AP/Bullit Marquez
Gordon to CHR: Do not attend probe if you do not respect Senate
Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - October 13, 2016 - 1:15pm

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Richard Gordon on Thursday scolded the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) saying if they do not respect the Senate and the Committee on Justice and Human Rights then they should not attend the probe, following the remarks of a CHR commissioner.

“We are not taking human rights out of the equation,” Gordon said at the Senate probe into the rising number of  drug-related killings.

“I just said that under the circumstances, kung pinagdududahan ninyo ang committee huwag na kayong pumunta rito because the Commission on Human Rights under the Constitution is allowed to investigate and recommend the filing of cases,” he added.

In an earlier published statement, CHR commissioner Roberto Eugenio Cadiz reportedly criticized Gordon, also the chair of the Senate panel on justice and human rights, for his decision to “prematurely” suspend the hearing last October 3. Cadiz called Gordon a “coward.”

Gordon took offense and on Wednesday said he would not call the CHR into the Senate probe until they apologize. However, on Thursday’s hearing, Gordon retracted his statement and said he never demanded an apology from the CHR.

“He can call me a coward, he can call me anything because I know who I am,” Gordon said.

The senator just insisted that Cadiz should apologize for speaking on behalf of the CHR. He revealed that CHR Chair Chito Gascon earlier apologized for the aggravation the statement may have caused Gordon and the Senate committee members, saying it was not the position of the CHR en banc.

Gordon said he has no personal grudge against Gascon as he was also his friend. However, he said the chair could have disassociated the statement of Cadiz from the CHR as this was Gascon’s promise.

He cited that a chairman should not let his members speak for his commission.

“Kaya lang naman ako medyo may himutok ng konti dahil tumawag sakin si Chairman (Gascon) at sabi niya aayusin niya they will dissociate it pero ano ang lumabas,” Gordon said, referring to reports that the CHR slammed his move to suspend the hearing.

Despite the previous statements, Gordon said Gascon’s personal apology is taken into consideration. “He doesn't need to apologize to me,” he said.

CHR also issued a statement saying the commission respects the independence of the Senate and recognizes its authority to conduct hearings, in accordance with its own rules.

"Under Sen. Richard Gordon's chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, the commission continues to pray that the Committee will succeed ferreting out the truth," the CHR said.

Senate panel forgoes EJK probe

Due to the CHR commissioner’s statement, which Gordon considers as among the distractions of the probe, the Senate committee on justice and human rights decided to change the discussion of extrajudicial killings to the death penalty bill. The panel said the probe is in aid of legislation.

Ousted chair of the Senate panel on justice and human rights Leila De Lima countered the plan of discussing the death penalty bill. However, Gordon dismissed her motion.

“No one seconded the motion. Motion overruled,” he said.

The senate is on the sixth day of the hearing into the drug-related killings.

COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS DEATH PENALTY DICK GORDON EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS SENATE
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