Press Release
May 16, 2023

OPENING STATEMENT

May 16, 2023


AGENDA:

* Privilege Speech of Sen. Ronald Dela Rosa delivered on December 12, 2022 (Journal No. 37)
* Privilege Speech of Sen. Raffy Tulfo delivered on December 13, 2022 (Journal No. 38)
* S. No. 437 - Requiring business establishments to install Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras in their place of business (By: Sen. Dela Rosa)
* S. No. 948 - Providing guidelines for the installation and use of the Closed-Circuit Television Video (CCTV) systems (By: Sen. Gatchalian)
* P.S. Res. No. 508 - PDEA's Practice of Paying Informants or Assets 30 Percent of Confiscated Drugs (By: Sen. Dela Rosa)
* P.S. Res. No. 564 - Alleged Involvement of High-Ranking PNP Officials and Officers on the 6.7 Billion Manila Drug Buy Bust (By: Sen. Revilla)


Once again, good morning everyone.

Mahigit dalawang dekada na ang nakararaan mula nang maisabatas ang Republic Act No. 9165 o mas kilala bilang Comprehensive Drugs Act of 2002. Sigurado akong hindi aakalain ng mga mambabatas ng 12th Congress na masasangkot ang mga matataas na opisyal ng Philippine National Police sa halos isang toneladang iligal na droga. Our laws were supposed to be enforced by our police. They were supposed to serve and protect the people not deceive and propagate evil.

Isang toneladang iligal na droga na nagkakahalaga ng 6.7 bilyong piso ang ipinuslit ng mga tiwaling miyembro ng PNP. Nakakahiya, nakadidismaya, ngunit higit sa lahat--nakalulungkot. Mas marami pa rin ang mga masisipag at matitinong mga kasapi ng ating kapulisan. Sa kasamaang palad, tuwing may napababalitang kabulastugan, ang buong imahe ng PNP ang nababahiran. Hindi na sila nahiya sa kanilang mga kasamahan na nagbuwis ng buhay sa ngalan ng paglaban sa iligal na droga.

The PNP vowed to pursue an intensive and unrelenting campaign against illegal drug trafficking for the safety and well-being of our citizens especially the youth. Hindi ko sukat akalain na ang mga sumumpang mangangalaga sa ating mga kababayan ang siya pa mismong magnanakaw at magbebenta ng iligal na droga. Matinding lakas ng loob at kapal ng mukha ang kailangan upang masikmura ang ganitong mga gawain.

If life imprisonment does not sow fear in the hearts and minds of these criminals in uniform, what more can we do in terms of legislation to ensure that no one ever considers engaging in the illegal drug trade? Ano pa ang dapat nating gawin na polisiya para magbigay sa atin ng kapanatagan? Anong mga polisiya ang makapagtitiyak na ligtas ang ating mga anak sa tuwing lalabas sila sa ating mga tahanan? We hope that our resource persons present today contribute through recommendations, all things necessary to finally eradicate illegal drugs in the country.

Before I end, I would like to state for the record that we have been informed that, upon the Motion of the Prosecution, a Gag Order has been issued by the Regional Trial Court of Manila Branch 177 for the criminal case of Ney Atadero alias Mario and Rodolfo Mayo, Jr. involving the almost 1 ton of illegal drugs. The court in its resolution ordered "all the counsels, litigants, witnesses and other parties involved in these cases are strictly enjoined to observe the sub judice rule and are thus prohibited from publicly discussing the merits and divulging the development of these cases to the media during the pendency of these cases."

While we recognize the Gag Order issued by Honorable Judge Grace Chavez-Ty of Regional Trial Court of Manila Branch 177, this Committee will continue to conduct its legislative function and use its power of inquiry, in aid of legislation, as expressly provided in the 1987 Constitution which states that, "The Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its respective committees may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure. The rights of persons appearing in or affected by such inquiries shall be respected."

This constitutional provision has been respected by the Supreme Court and upheld the power of the Congress to investigate when it pronounced that, "On-going judicial proceedings do not preclude congressional hearings in aid of legislation." It further declared that "The mere filing of a criminal or an administrative complaint before a court or quasi-judicial body should not automatically bar the conduct of legislative investigation. Otherwise, it would be extremely easy to subvert any intended inquiry by Congress through the convenient ploy of instituting a criminal or an administrative complaint. Surely, the exercise of sovereign legislative authority, of which the power of legislative inquiry is an essential component, cannot be made subordinate to a criminal or administrative investigation."

With that authority emanating from the Highest Law of the Land and in accordance with the pronouncements of the Supreme Court, we hereby resume our committee hearing, our inquiry, in aid of legislation. Thank you.

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