Ombudsman should probe list of alleged 22 smugglers, protectors, Sotto says

Published June 29, 2022, 5:58 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Outgoing Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III today June 9 said he has submitted to the Office of the Ombudsman the list of 22 alleged smugglers and smuggling protectors.

‘’Pinadala ko sa Ombudsman buong committee report, nandun rekomendasyon ng Senado. kung sinu-sino mga dapat kasuhan. kumpleto yon (I have submitted the complete committee report to the Ombudsman which included the Senate committee recommendations…including those to be is complete),’’ he said.

The center of controversy is the report of the Senate Committee of the Whole (COW) signed by 17 senators. Chairman of the COW is Sotto.

In the report is the list which Sotto maintained came from the intelligence sector.

An intelligence agency reportedly corrected that the Senate committee report was not in its proper context.

Sotto inserted the controversial list in the committee report on June 1, the day the Senate and the House of Representatives went on a sine die adjournment.

The Senate chief recalls that his agreement with the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) was for it (NICA) to validate the list but this was overtaken by the sine die adjournment.

‘’Wag nilang sasabihin na kami may ginawang mali o may ginawang di tama. di pwede yon sapagkat inilalagay ko lang sa lugar (They should not tell me that we did was wrong or we are out of line. I just put things in their proper perspective).

‘’Imbes na manahimik na lang parang papalabasin pinulot ko yung listahan from thin air sumusunod ako sa usapan na di ko sasabihin pinanggalingan (Instead of the NICA staying silent, it seems they are saying that I plucked the list from thin air..I am just following our agreement for me not to tell where the list came from),’’ he added.

‘’Pero pag sinabihan mo ako na iba yung listahan na hawak ko. san ko kinuha yon? (If you say my list is not the correct one, where did I get it?),’’ he asked.

‘’Wag ganon sapagkat sa senado di pwede run ang nagsisinungaling (Don’t say that because the Senate does not tell a lie),’’ he added.

Sotto said the text messages sent to him showed that the list given to him reportedly came from a Task Group.