Sotto rejects PNP’s appeal for ‘due diligence’ before disclosing Magalong’s revelations

Published September 25, 2019, 7:51 PM

by CJ Juntereal

By Vanne Terrazola

Senate President Vicente Sotto III rejected on Wednesday the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) appeal for “due diligence” in disclosing the revelations of former Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) chief and Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong about the involvement of cops in the recycling of illegal drugs.

Sen. Vicente Sotto III (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)
Sen. Vicente Sotto III
(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

The PNP’s remarks did not sit well with Sotto who defended his colleague’s decision to allow the Senate justice and blue ribbon committees to make public the information shared by Magalong during an executive session last week.

“I take exception to that statement of the PNP. That we should exercise due diligence? Bakit (Why)? Taga-tanggap lang kami ng impormasyon (We are mere recipients of information). Ayaw nila ng impormasyon na natanggap namin (They don’t want the information given to us)? Bakit kami ang sisihin nila (Why are they blaming us)?” Sotto told reporters in an interview.

“I really take exception to that,” he repeated.

The Senate chief said the chamber only got the information from the former CIDG director as it pursued the probe on the issues hounding the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.

Such information, he stressed, will be used in lawmaking to prevent the repeat of issues and problems in government.

“Anong due process sa amin (What due process is the PNP talking about)? We are not the courts. We are not trying anyone. We just received the information, ganoon ka-simple ‘yon (that’s how simple it is),” Sotto said.

He also questioned the concern of the PNP when “all the names” mentioned by Magalong “were facing charges.”

“These are worms coming out of the woodwork. And we are not to be blamed. We cannot help it,” he said.

Sotto explained that the Senate decided to divulge the discussion with Magalong after President Duterte reportedly expressed interest, through his long-time aide Sen. Christopher Go, to know the Baguio mayor’s exposès.

Senator Richard Gordon, who chairs both the justice and blue ribbon panels, earlier said he will submit to the Chief Executive the transcript of the closed-door meeting.

Sotto said it will be up to the President if he wants to make public the content executive session.

Gordon, he noted, could also choose to announce it in the next committee hearing on the NBP issues on October 1.

On Tuesday night, the Senate, voting 17-0, approved the motion of former PNP chief and now Sen. Ronald dela Rosa to allow the two Senate committees to disclose the minutes of the executive session with Magalong.

Such move, Sotto said, will also end speculations of tagging PNP personalities in drug recycling.