News

Sudden change in Senate leadership to stifle probe on Marcos’ alleged drug use

By Beting Laygo Dolor, Editor

MANILA  —  The sudden and unexpected change in the Senate’s leadership this week has been seen as the current regime taking steps to stifle acts inimical to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Ousted senate president Migz Zubiri said he believes the Marcos camp was “displeased” with him for allowing Senator Ronald ‘Bato’ Dela Rosa’s committee on public order and dangerous drugs to probe the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency’s (PDEA) leaks of documents that claimed the alleged involvement of Marcos in the use of illegal drugs.

Last week, Zubiri had asked that the committee hearings not be used for political purposes, but fell short of asking for its termination.

Another reason cited by Zubiri for his removal was the slow pace in the moves to amend the Constitution.

Assuming the post of Senate president is Chiz Escudero, a known loyalist of Marcos. Escudero has stated in the past that he also “idolized” the late dictator and namesake of the current president.

Escudero’s father had also served in the Cabinet of the senior Marcos.

Escudero admitted that he moved to oust Zubiri and assume the Senate presidency over the weekend, when he began to gather the votes needed to take over.

Fifteen senators including Escudero and – surprisingly – Dela Rosa voted for the change in leadership of the upper chamber of Congress.

The change in the Senate likely means that Dela Rosa’s probe of the PDEA leak will come to an end.

The committee held its fourth hearing on Monday, this week, which resulted in the citing for contempt of two of its resource persons, namely former PDEA agent Jonathan Morales and former National Police Commission staffer Eric Santiago.

Both were ordered locked up in the Senate’s detention facility for lying.

Santiago had claimed that he had  to Morales and another resource person, Romeo Marquez. Santiago saidhe had done so in order to be invited by the Senate to help shed light on the controversial PDEA document implicating Marcos along with actress Maricel Soriano.

Morales, on the other hand, was also ordered detained supposedly for giving conflicting statements on the reasons why he had been separated from the service.

Members of the House asked the new Senate leadership to immediately put an end to the PDEA leak hearings.

It must be noted that Morales was the sole witness to the leak, but said he was not himself the whistleblower. Ending the Senate committee hearings will mean that the truth behind the leaked documents will never be known.

Morales had agreed to a one-on-one meeting with Philippine News Today, scheduled for Tuesday, but his incarceration made it impossible.

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