Senator Leila De Lima was shot under fire by Sen. Richard “Dick” Gordon and said she committed material concealment for not disclosing the pending case of self-confessed hitman Edgar Matobato.
The atmosphere was in the Senate hearing was fuming on Monday on the alleged extrajudicial killings on the anti-drug campaign of the administration.
De Lima denied the calls of Gordon and told that the kidnapping case filed against Matobato was part of her notes. Trillanes, on the other hand, a known fierce critic of Duterte, shared transcript of Matobato wherein he entailed that he had a previous case for kidnapping Makdum.
He then urged Gordon to apologize for De Lima, but to no avail, he did not which led for De Lima to walk out.
READ MORE: Walk Out Queen? De Lima Walks Out Of the Senate Hearing, OMG!
Meanwhile, a viral unsolicited opinion of lawyer, Trixie Cruz-Angeles, has been making rounds on social media and was shared multiple times on Facebook.
Senators De lima and Trillanes say that since Matobato disclosed that a case had been filed in the NBI against him, regarding the Makdum kidnap-slay, there was no material concealment on their part regarding their witness.WATCH How De Lima Was Grilled For Not Telling Matobato Has Pending Case Of KFR, Gosh!
This argument fails in light of the following:
Matobato indeed admitted an NBI case filed against him, during his testimony. However, he did not disclose that the case was actually filed in the prosecutor's office. This is material because if a case is filed there and he participated in the same, there would be records. And in fact there is.
Matobato has a counter affidavit filed in that case.In the said counter affidavit, he states that military looking men were involved in the kidnapping. He does not mention police officers. And in fact he does not mention the cops who were summoned to the senate. He does not mention the DDS either. This was clarified by Sen. Cayetano.
Sen. Gordon's "umbrage" therefore was that Senators Delima and Trillanes knew that this witness had previously and under oath effectively denied or declined to name the police officers he had accused in the senate. That they could have, at the earliest instance, when Matobato mentioned the NBI case, disclosed the filing in the prosecutor's office and provided records of the prior inconsistent statement (I reiterate, made under oath).
Do Senators Trillanes and Delima have the obligation to disclose this? My opinion is that they do. The senate hearing is not a court case. The purpose in providing witnesses or resource persons is to shed light on situations or conditions that may be addressed by legislation. It is not an adversarial proceeding. The more relevant information, the better it is for the Filipino people. And information on the reliability of a witness and prior inconsistent statements that inform us on the capacity of the resource person to attest to the situation being investigated is material.
As Sen. Gordon posits, had Senators Trillanes and Delima disclosed the said case (and consequently the counter affidavit) then the committee would not have wasted more time on Matobato, nor would they have summoned so much of the PNP's force. The latter is important because rather than working on peace and order, they are in the senate giving testimony.
What is the remedy then? Sen. Gordon himself stated that it could be a matter for the ethics committee to take up.