Press Release
May 29, 2023

Senator Alan Peter Cayetano Manifestation on Degamo

Senator Alan Peter "Compañero" Cayetano talks about the implication of allowing suspects in the Degamo slay case to withdraw their testimonies to the country's justice system.


PART 1: Mr. President, just a quick 2-minute manifestation on a very, very important issue that I think affects not only the Senate, all of the members, but also our system of justice. May I have these 2 minutes for a quick manifestation, Mr. President?

Mr. President, there was this guy na matagal nang hindi nangumpisal so pumunta sa isang pari at nangumpisal, sabi niya, "Father, forgive me for I have sinned." He stared at the priest and the priest was waiting for his confession and then the priest tried to guide him, sabi niya, "Anong kasalanan mo, anak?" Nakatitig lang siya. Sabi, "Umiinom ka ba?" "Hindi po." "Nagsusugal ka ba?" "Hindi po." "Pumapatay ka ba ng tao?" "Hindi po." "Magnanakaw ka ba?" "Hindi po." "Nangangaliwa ka ba sa asawa mo?" "Hindi po." So sabi niya, "Ano kasalanan mo? Bakit mo ako pinilit mangumpisal ng ganitong oras, hinanap mo pa ako." Sabi po ng tao, "Father, sinungaling kasi po ako." So although I try to deliver this as lightly as possible, noong araw po pag tinawag mo na sinungaling ang isang tao then it would be a matter of honor for the whole family. So pag sinabi mong sinungaling si Cruz o sinungaling si Santos o sinungaling si Juan dela Cruz, matter of honor na po 'yan.

The topic I'm bringing up is that I'd like to congratulate Senator Bato for the handling of the hearing on the, of course, the tragedy and the outrage doon sa pagpatay kay Governor Degamo but since he's closed the hearing Jhudiel Osmundo Rivero filed a counter affidavit and another affidavit recanting his previous testimonies before the Department of Justice, and later, 3 more suspects did the same, and if you monitor the De Lima case, you would see also someone who recanted and if you watch the hearings last week, again by Senator Bato, lanta-lantaran na nagsisinungaling sa harap ng Senado. So ang point ko, Mr. President, untenable na at unsustainable na ang perjury ay hindi pinapansin sa ating bansa o hindi kinakasuhan. So, I know it's a long discussion but I'd like just to put on the floor and for our discernment whether or not Senator Bato would be amenable to opening the hearing again but also if the Committee on Justice would join and the Committee on Justice can focus on the laws regarding lying under oath including perjury, including contempt.

I learned that in certain jurisdictions like in the U.S., for example, in New York, California, Illinois, Florida, the penalty for perjury is 10 years imprisonment. You would say, ano ang pagnanakaw compared, ano ang pagsisinungaling compared to corruption, compared to illegal drugs, compared to pagnanakaw, etc. But, Mr. President, the reason why we function well here in the Senate although we disagree on many issues, the reason why we function well with the Minority, although we would disagree on many issues, the reason why the different blocs can get along and can discuss issues, the reason why the female members who are very protective of, for example, discrimination, or issues on family, the reason why we can discuss it is because we have a basic trust, we don't lie to each other. We're not always obligated to tell each other the truth, you'll sometimes have the right to remain silent, sometimes you don't have to answer, sometimes you don't have to get involved but 'yung lantaran po under oath, kaliwa't kanan na lang.

So, isipin niyo po 'yung ordinary, this is my last point, isipin niyo po 'yung ordinaryong Juan dela Cruz, manonood ng TV, sasabihin si Senator ganito or si Congressman ganito, si ex-President ganito, ganito, ganito, magnanakaw, eto mga witnesses. Iisa-isahin 'yung witnesses, 6 months later, 1 year later, isa-isa 'yung mga witness babaliktad, tapos ganun na lang?

So I'm not saying that 'yung mga witnesses po ay walang karapatan bumaliktad, ang point ko, anong penalty nila? So kung nagsisinungaling sila, dapat kasuhan sila. Ngayon, kung totoong tinorture or cinoerce sila, eh kinasuhan ba 'yung nag-coerce or 'yung nag-torture sa kanila? Ang point, hindi pwede hanging, hindi pwedeng pagdating dito sa Senate, lalaru-laruin na lang tayo, magsisinungaling 'yung mga witnesses or sasabihin din na 3 years lang naman eleksyon na, 6 years lang 'yan, palipasin lang natin 'tong administrasyon na 'to.

So I think the Senator Bato and Senator Tol are very capable chairpersons, their track record speaks for themselves especially in whether we were talking about the e-sabong hearing or ito pong kay Governor Degamo, of course, the many, many hearings that very well organized on his own, Senator Tolentino. So, may I lay this at their feet and I think that it is something that we should all be very, very much concerned about. Thank you for this time, Mr. President.


Just one point, Mr. President. In the U.S. Congress, they're allowed to do 2 things: either directly hold them in contempt under the powers of contempt of Congress or to certify it to the Attorney General and then kakasuhan nung Attorney General. But these are all criminal cases and it's very clear sa penology that it isn't really the penalty but the certainty that you will, the case will be filed and that you will be jailed. So, of course, the certainty na 10 years vs 6 months but ang nangyayari kasi ngayon 6 months nalang, wala pang certainty.

So, just to use the example last week, 'yung mga PNP personnel nagsinungaling, dapat ang PNP mismo mag-conduct ng administrative hearing on that at pag nakita nilang they lied to Congress, sila na mismo ay mayroon nang ginawa sa ahensya nila. So yes, we do not control the private sector in terms of what they say here but we can hold them under oath. But kung kapwa government employees magsisinungaling sa atin dito, napakakawawa naman natin kung problema pa natin how to hold them accountable. So let me confer with Senator Tol and Senator Bato but I'm hoping that we will have a more proactive, whole-of-government approach here. So meaning, pag ka nandiyan po ay, let's say sa consumer at nandiyan ang taga-DTI o may complaints sa corruption, nandiyan BIR, Customs, or whatever, DPWH, at mismong tauhan nila nagsinungaling, singilin natin sila na sila mismo magdisiplina sa sarili nilang mga tao. So, thank you for this time, Mr. President. Thank you.

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