House leaders: Senate ‘losing integrity’ over PDEA leaks probe

Cristina Chi - Philstar.com
House leaders: Senate �losing integrity� over PDEA leaks probe
Incoming Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr (L) and outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte (C) take part in the inauguration ceremony for Marcos at the Malacanang presidential palace grounds in Manila on June 30, 2022. The son of the Philippines' late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was to be sworn in as president on June 30, completing a decades-long effort to restore the clan to the country's highest office.
Francis R. Malasig / Pool / AFP

MANILA, Philippines — House leaders warned the Senate on Wednesday that it is “losing its integrity” by continuing to investigate an unverified document linking the president to illegal drug use – words that reflect the lower chamber’s suspicions that a full-blown destabilization plot against the Marcos administration is underway.

House Deputy Speaker Rep. David Suarez (Quezon, 2nd District) said in a press conference that the Senate probe is “out to malign and destroy” President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. based on an alleged classified document by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), which links him and actress Maricel Soriano to illegal drug use. 

RELATED: 'Nalilito ako dito': Maricel Soriano denies knowledge of drug allegations in unverified PDEA documents  

The Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee chaired by Sen. Ronald dela Rosa has so far held two hearings on the alleged leaked documents, which were earlier shared on social media by blogger Maharlika, a known purveyor of dis- and mis-information.

On Wednesday, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri condemned the “hearsay” evidence presented by former PDEA investigation agent Jonathan Morales, who testified that the documents are real based on the word of an informant whose identity he said he could not remember.

Morales’ credibility as a witness has also been questioned by House lawmakers, senators and the PDEA itself, some of whom have brought up that he was dishonorably discharged from police service prior to his stint in the PDEA.

Rep. Jefferson Khonghun (Zambales, 1st District) said that the Senate inquiry linking Marcos to drug allegations was launched by by allies of former President Rodrigo Duterte to “detabilize” his administration and distract from other issues, such as the West Philippine Sea, the cases against controversial pastor Apollo Quiboloy and the pending investigation by the International Criminal Court. 
“Karamihan ng bumabanat sa ating presidente ngayon is kakampi ng dating administrasyon, so we dont need a scientist to see who is benefiting from the destabilization at sa mga ginagawa nilang pagpapahiya,” Khongun said.

(Most of those who are criticizing / insulting the president are allies of the former administration, so we don’t need a scientist to see who is benefiting from the destabilization and their attempts to humiliate.)

House Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Zia Adiong (Lanao del Sur, 1st District) said that with the PDEA itself refuting Morales’ claims, Dela Rosa’s background as former police chief should have prompted him to drop the investigation as “everything is hearsay.” 

“As it develops, the Senate is losing its integrity, at nadadrag ang reputation ng Senado… Walang patutunguhan ang investigation na ito other than smear campaign,” Adiong said.

(As it develops, the Senate is losing its integrity, and the reputation of the Senate is being dragged down... This investigation will go nowhere other than a smear campaign.)

The lawmaker said that the committee hearing, when analyzed along with recent events, including prayer rallies led by Duterte, are signs that "there is an attack on the administration.”

 "You connext the dots. We don't need Sen. Trillanes telling us... There is a big effort to detabilize this administration, but definitely that would fail," Adiong added.

Former Sen. Antonio Trillanes said on Wednesday that a serious plan to oust Marcos from the presidency is underway, with those plotting his destabilization hoping to install Vice President Sara Duterte as president by June 30. 

Trillanes claimed that two senior officials of the Philippine National Police are behind the ouster plot. Philippine National Police spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo and Interior Secretary Benjur Abalos have both denied reports of an alleged destabilization plot against the president.

Duterte’s drug list tactic

Political science professor Cleve Arguelles told Philstar.com in January that Duterte’s use of drug allegations is a familiar tactic he has wielded in the past against his political rivals, including former Sen. Leila de Lima, who, as then-chairperson of the Senate human rights panel, launched an inquiry into the drug war killings in 2016.

RELATEDMarcos, Romualdez lash out at Dutertes for ‘drug addict’ accusation

Self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa in 2016 testified against De Lima during a Senate hearing and claimed that she received drug money when she was secretary of the Department of Justice. Six years later, he recanted his allegations, saying he was "only coerced, pressured, intimated, and seriously threatened by the police.”

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