A Senate President never pressures colleagues to sign a committee report, Sotto insists

Published February 26, 2022, 7:45 PM

by Mario Casayuran

“A Senate President never does that.”

Vice presidential candidate Senator Vicente Sotto III addresses the crowd during proclamation rally in Imus, Cavite.

Vice presidential candidate Senate President Vicente Sotto III stressed this point to give emphasis to his earlier statement that he would resign and shoot himself at the Luneta Park if anyone can prove that he pressured his colleagues to sign an initial report of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee on the controversial alleged overpriced delivery by Pharmally Pharmaceutical corporation of billions of pesos worth of coronarivus disease (COVID)-related medical supplies.

‘’I have never done that. We leave it to the discretion of the members,’’ Sotto said during a CNN Philippines-sponsored debate among vice presidential bets held Saturday night, Feb. 26 at the University of Sto. Tomas (UST).

The Senate chief said any member, any senator signing a committee report can say with reservation, “Hindi ganun kadali po yun na pumirma o magpapirma (It is not that easy to sign)… It’s up to them.’’

Sotto emphasized that a draft report of a committee is not yet a “Senate report”.

“Linawin ko muna kung may mga dapat sampahan ng kaso, sampahan (Anyone liable should be prosecuted, that is my personal opinion). But the draft committee report will have to go through the plenary. And in the plenary that is where we pass it, we debate on it,’’ he added.

Only when it is approved by the plenary does it become as a Senate report.

Sotto said the Office of the Ombudsman usually listens to Senate committee investigations to know who should be held liable or be charged accordingly.

‘’Katulad ng ginawa kong imbestigasyon sa PhilHealth na pinakasuhan ko lahat ng mga ika nga ay gumawa ng kabalbalan doon sa pera ng PhilHealth. Nakasuhan lahat yun (I had those who committed wrongdoing with the funds of Philippine Health Insurance Corporation [PhilHealth] charged),’’ he said.

‘’But we passed it in plenary, majority signed and we passed it in plenary and it was a Senate report; it was no longer a Blue Ribbon draft report like what is happening now,’’ he added.