- Senators tussled over grilling of alleged DDS member
- De Lima said Senate inquiry not a court, blasted colleagues for misleading questions
- Gordon denied accusation, said they are not attempting to mislead Matobato
MANILA, Philippines – It was déjà vu in the Senate all over again as two senators clashed over the way alleged Davao Death Squad (DDS) member Edgar Matobato was being grilled in the inquiry on alleged extrajudicial killings.
Ousted justice committee chairperson Sen. Leila de Lima accused her successor Sen. Richard “Dick” Gordon and members of the panel of turning the Senate inquiry into a court proceeding by shooting misleading questions at Matobato.
“We have to remember again — just to make a point, drive home the point — this is not a court of law. In cross-examination, the lawyer of the witness can object, but in proceedings before Senate, the lawyer is not allowed to object but simply to advise,” ABS-CBN quoted De Lima as saying.
“Therefore, may nangyayari na may misleading questions that the counsel would not be able to come to his rescue, kung merong mga ganoong questionable questions, because bawal ang lawyer na mag-object on behalf of the witness,” she added.
[There are instances wherein misleading questions are being asked and the counsel of the witness is not able to come to his rescue because he is not allowed to raise objections.]
Though ousted from the chairmanship, De Lima was still elected as member of the justice committee.
For his part, Gordon denied De Lima’s accusations and advised her not to cast doubt on the committee’s integrity.
“I would normally say ‘I resent that remark,’ but you’re a lady, and I respect you as a lady. There is no attempt on the part of this representation and I believe people seated on this desk here of any attempt to mislead,” he said. “Please do not cast any aspersion. We are all lawyers here. I don’t want to lecture any other lawyer here. I don’t want to be lectured either.”