Senate Blue Ribbon: not in search of truth in Tulfo case PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 16 August 2018 14:05

KAKAMPI MO ANG BATAS

BY Atty. BATAS MAURICIO

LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “…Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?…” (Jesus, our God and Savior, in Matthew 7:1-3, the Holy Bible)

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SENATE BLUE RIBBON: NOT IN SEARCH OF TRUTH IN TULFO CASE: It was, by and large, a fruitful experience for my wife and I. I am referring, of course, to our appearance as the lawyers of Ben “Bitag” Tulfo, during the hearing on August 14, 2018 of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee where it was supposed to have conducted an “inquiry in aid of legislation” on  the P60-million advertising contract between the Department of Tourism (DOT) under then Secretary Wanda Tulfo Teo and PTV 4.

I learned many things. Foremost among these is the truth that in the investigation carried out by the Blue Ribbon Committee on the Tulfo-DOT controversy, Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Gordon, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, and Sen. Riza Hontiveros were actually not concerned with searching for the truth.

The hearing that my wife, former Judge Angelina Domingo Mauricio, and I attended as the legal counsel of Ben Tulfo was in reality a hearing in which Gordon, Trillanes IV  and Hontiveros, merely engaged themselves in a fishing expedition to come up with facts to support their prior perceptions that Secretary Tulfo and Ben Tulfo were indeed guilty of graft and corruption in the P60-million deal.

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CLEAR VIOLATION OF SENATE RULES: If the truth be told, a deeper look into the previous behavior and conduct of the three lawmakers here—Gordon, Trillanes, and Hontiveros—in past investigations of the Blue Ribbon Committee would show the same pattern of prejudgment even before formal inquiries are made. Their proceedings were not really “fact-finding” to ferret out what really happened, but “finding facts to support their preconceived ideas or their prejudgment”.

With due respect to Gordon, Trillanes IV and Hontiveros, what they have been doing is a clear desecration and indubitable violation of the mandate given to them under their Rules of Procedure in Aid of Legislation. Firstly, no senator has the right to pass judgment upon their resource persons and delare them guilty or not guilty of any crime.

That is not part of their mandate, according to Section 1, Resolution No. 5 of the Senate, which is otherwise known as the Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation. The mandate of the Senate in inquiries in aid of legislation is to know the facts to enable them to pass new laws or revise old ones. Senators have no power to act as judges unless they are sitting in an impeachment court.

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SENATE BLUE RIBBON, NO RIGHT TO PASS JUDGMENT ON ANYONE: Under Section 12 of Resolution No. 5, it is also clear that resource persons appearing in any Senate inquiry, like Ben Tulfo and Wanda Tulfo last August 14, 2018, would simply be asked on “matters of fact”. They shouldn’t be asked whether they are guilty or not guilty, just like what happened to Ben and Wanda.

Too, no senator has the right to side with, or take the cudgels for, anyone in their investigations. Yet, I was amazed and disappointed to hear Gordon saying, in public yet, that he actually talked to the executives of PTV 4 one day before the hearing on August 14, 2018, asking them to turn state witnesses against the Tulfos. Gordon even assured, and this was according to himself in that hearing, protection to those executives who will turn against the Tulfos.

This is truly stupendous, is it not, beloved readers of Kakampi Mo Ang Batas? Then, as Patricia Laurel commented in a Facebook post while the hearing was being held, Trillanes was throwing questions, left and right, to the Tulfos, seeking to elicit an admission of guilt from them, yet forbidding them to answer him! Now I wouldn’t be surprised anymore if I hear comments that the Senate “is one rotten agency of the government”.

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FOR QUESTIONS, REACTIONS: If anyone would like to ask me any question about what the burning issues of the day mean, or what we have discussed here, or to consult on any problem, whatever it may be, please call 0917 984 24 68, or email me at batasmauricio@yahoo.com, or post your concerns at www.facebook.com/attybatas.  Promise, I will answer right away. Thank God in the Name of Jesus, Amen!