- Senators voted to make Gordon new Senate justice committee chairman
- Change of leadership came after Pacquiao moved to declare chairmanship and committee vacant
- De Lima still elected committee member along with Pangilinan, Zubiri, Poe and Cayetano
MANILA, Philippines – It’s De Lima out, Dick in.
Sen. Richard “Dick” Gordon assumed chairmanship of the Senate committee on justice following the ouster of erstwhile head Sen. Leila de Lima on Monday. He will be assisted by vice chairman Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson.
Gordon, who was nominated by Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III for the position, vowed to be objective as head of the committee.
De Lima’s removal from her chair came after neophyte solon Sen. Manny Pacquiao moved to declare vacant the position of justice committee chairman and members.
“I move that the chairmanship and members of the Committee on Justice be declared vacant,” he said.
Sen. Franklin Drilon’s objection to the motion spurred a one-hour caucus among the senators, after which Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel moved to divide the house with a vote.
16 senators voted in favor of Pacquiao while De Lima’s four allies—Drilon, and Senators Risa Hontiveros, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan” and Bam Aquino—opposed the motion.
Senators Ralph Recto and Francis “Chiz” Escudero abstained from the voting.
Aside from Gordon, those elected into the justice committee as members were De Lima, Pangilinan, and Senators Juan Miguel Zubiri, Grace Poe and Alan Peter Cayetano.
The change in leadership came after De Lima walked out of Cayetano’s privilege speech accusing her of bias and calling for a new justice committee chair.
“Let someone else chair. In my past speech I said, I’m not even asking that she removed from the committee on justice only on certain hearing where we cannot expect cold neutrality,” the Philippine Star quoted him as saying.