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Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson’s April 27, 2009 privilege speech (full text)

If you’re as baffled yet curious as I am with all this Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson versus Senator Manuel “Manny” Villarethics war,” then you might want to give this a read. Here’s the full text of Senator Ping’s privilege speech yesterday, April 27, 2009, delivered before his fellow legislators.

(Privilege Speech)
By Hon. Panfilo M. Lacson
Senator

April 27, 2008

This will be a short privilege speech. At the outset I would like to
thank the minority leader for yielding the floor to this
representation and likewise to the lady senator from Antique.

Mr. President, I stand on a matter of personal and collective
privilege. Last Monday, 20 April 2009, this representation took the
floor to clarify certain misleading statements made by some of our
colleagues at the minority bloc in connection with the ethics
complaint against a member of this chamber. Thereafter the gentleman
from Las Piñas stood on the floor of this Senate, ostensibly to
respond to my privilege speech delivered last Monday.

Sa kanyang talumpati, Ginoong Pangulo, kasama sa maraming binanggit ni
Senador Manuel Villar Jr. ang mga sumusunod and I quote: ‘I was
accused on this floor. I will answer it here on this floor, hindi po
doon sa kangaroo court ng ethics committee headed by no less than one
of my accusers and the members of which are all presidentiables.’

Sa pangalawang pagkakataon sa kanyang talumpati noong Lunes, sinabi
rin niya ang sumusunod: ‘Mahaba pa po Ginoong Pangulo ang aking
gustong sabihin. Subali’t ang issue po ngayon ay ang ethics committee.
Ang C5 sasagutin ko yan. Hindi ako natatakot pero hindi po sa ethics
committee, dito sa floor.’ Upang maiwasang ibahin na naman ng ilan
nating mga kasamahan dito sa Senado ang mga binitiwang pananalita ni
Sen. Villar, minabuti ko bigkasin ang bawa’t kataga, walang dagdag,
walang bawas at naaayon sa journal and transcript of records ng
Senado.

Mr. President, for the record, the ethics committee is not a kangaroo
court. In fact, it has not constituted itself as a body to exercise
its adjudication functions. And I am not the accuser. The senator from
Bicol region and Pampanga, Jamby Madrigal, is the complainant and
therefore his accuser.

My privilege speech last Sept. 15, 2008 regarding the issue of double
insertion in the 2008 national budget is not even part of the
complaint filed by the lady senator from Bicol. The complaint is about
allegations of conflict of interest and improper conduct committed by
Sen. Villar in realigning the road right of way for his own benefit
and self-interest.

Dahil sa Senado, Ginoong Pangulo, naiparating sa sambayanan ang mga
masasamang gawain ng isang itago na lang natin sa pangalang Jose Pidal
at ang malawakang illegal gambling katulad ng jueteng na talamak sa
buong bansa.

Dahil sa Senado napalitaw sa sambayanan ang katakot-takot na
corruption sa iba’t ibang sangay ng ehekutibo, particular dito ang
gahiganteng tongpats sa NBN ZTE deal, ang pagkakagamit ng pondo ng
bayan sa mga pekeng fertilizer sa pagpapalakad ni Undersecretary
Jocjoc Bolante, maging ang nakakahiyang pagka-blacklist ng World Bank
mismo sa ilang mga kontratista na nagnenegosyo sa ating pamahalaan.

Hindi naman siguro maganda Ginoong Pangulo sa pananaw ng bayan at
lalong hindi makatarugnan kung tayo ay nag-iimbestiga at pumupuna sa
kamalian ng ibang sangay ng pamahalaan nguni’t mananahimik na lamang
tayo kung isa sa atin ayh naparatangan ng kamalian.

Kaya may committee on ethics and privileges ang Senado, at maging ang
Mababang Kapulungan meron ding kaukulang komiteng tulad nito.

Ginoong Pangulo ang katotohanan ay dapat lumitaw. Ito ang batayan ng
katarungan. But Mr. President, the gentleman from Las Piñas refuses to
recognize the ethics committee as constituted by this Senate. And by
his own statements made on the floor of this Senate last Monday, April
20, 2009, he repeatedly vowed that he would answer Senator Madrigal’s
accusations not before the ethics committee but on the floor of the
Senate.

Ginoong Pangulo, upang mabigyan ng karapat-dapat na proteksyon at
integridad ang Senado bilang institusyon na kinabibilangan ng bawa’t
isa sa atin at kinikilala ng sambayanang Pilipino bilang sandigan ng
katotohanan at katarungan at ayon na rin sa ginawang pakikipagugnayan
sa mga regular na kaanib ng ethics committee na nagbigay ng kanilang
pahintulot sa akin, ay nais ko pong hilingin na ipaubaya natin sa
Committee of the Whole ang pag-alam ng katotohanan tungkol sa kasong
sinampa ni Senadora Jamby Madrigal laban kay Senador Manuel Villar Jr.

Lest this move be misinterpreted to mean otherwise, this
representation as chair and all the regular members of the committee
on ethics and privileges are not, I repeat, are not abandoning our
sworn duty entrusted to us by our peers. Neither is it to accept the
accusation by some of our peers that we in the Senate ethics committee
cannot act with fairness, probity and impartiality. We have, I repeat,
acted with utmost respect for due process and according to the tenets
of fairness especially upon a peer in this august body.

But so as to strengthen the institution that is the Senate, and to
protect it from unwarranted assaults upon its collective integrity, I
therefore move Mr. President that the responsibility of the ethics
committee pertinent to the case filed by Sen. Jamby Badrigal against
Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. be henceforth undertaken by all of us in the
Senate acting as a Committee of the Whole.

I also move that the Senate President be the presiding officer of the
Committee of the Whole and that the proceedings be in accordance with
the rules of the committee on ethics and privileges as published in
the Official Gazette last March 23, 2009.

I so move, Mr. President.

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