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Monday, June 24, 2024

PDEA leaks probe ‘in aid of election’; Dela Rosa asked to issue public apology to Marcos

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Exasperated by the ongoing Senate probe on the so-called “PDEA Leaks,” lawmakers in the House of Representatives did not hold back in criticizing its lead investigator, with one bluntly labeling the hearings as “in aid of election.”

“It is clear this hearing is no longer in aid of legislation, but in aid of election, and the only objective of this is to destroy and trample on the name of our President,” Manila Rep. Joel Chua told reporters, adding that the ongoing investigation only wastes the time and money of taxpayers.

Chua did not elaborate his “in aid of election” remark, but he appeared to be referring to Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa, the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs conducting the probe.

Dela Rosa, who served as chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) during the earlier part of the Duterte administration amid the controversial war on drugs, is anticipated to run for re-election in the 2025 midterm polls.

On Monday, the Dela Rosa panel proceeded with its fourth hearing on the purported leaked documents from the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), which allegedly implicated President Marcos and other high-profile personalities in the illegal drug trade.

This move came despite mounting calls from different quarters for senators to stop the investigation due to the lack of substantial evidence and the questionable testimonies presented during the hearings.

House Assistant Majority Leader and Zambales Rep. Jay Khonghun urged Dela Rosa to issue a public apology to the President if the investigation fails to substantiate its claims.

“I am appealing that if the evidence presented in this hearing proves nothing, I hope they apologize to our President for dragging his name,” Khonghun said.

Expressing bewilderment over the prolonged Senate probe, House Deputy Speaker David Suarez (2nd District, Quezon) raised concerns about the allocation of resources for an investigation that lacks substance.

He emphasized the importance of trusting government and private institutions, highlighting the repeated assertions from them that the accusations against the President hold no truth.

“I really don’t understand why so much time, money and effort [are] being poured into something that has no value whatsoever,” Suarez said, questioning the necessity of continuing the inquiry.

He pointed out inconsistencies in the statements of the lone witness, dismissed PDEA intelligence officer Jonathan Morales, and raised doubts about his credibility.

Suarez also lamented the implications of dragging private individuals into the controversy, emphasizing that they have no involvement in the alleged wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, Bukidnon Rep. Jonathan Keith Flores warned of the potential threat to both the integrity of the President and the Senate as an institution, if the investigation goes on.

Flores likened the PDEA leaks probe to a political circus, emphasizing that legislators need to avoid turning it into a spectacle.

“And again, I said this before, if you hold the circus, you’ll naturally bring in the clowns,” Flores said.

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