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Members of the Senate ethics committee yesterday started to convene to take up the ethics complaint that has been filed against Senator Leila de Lima but refused to provide copies of the documents for fear it can cause premature publicity.
Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, chair of the ethics panel, said they have decided to keep the complaint confidential so that the committee’s investigation would go unhampered while it is deliberating if it has sufficient jurisdiction over the case and while they are still scouting for a general counsel.
“The need for the general counsel is to facilitate the work for the senators who are members of the committee so that we can easily decide on the jurisdiction and what to do with it and whether to pursue or to dismiss. Whatever we decide on we will decide later on if we will conduct executive sessions or public (hearings),” Sotto told reporters after the organizational meeting.
Present at the meeting were Senators Panfilo Lacson, Risa Hontiveros, and Gregorio Honasan II. Members who did not attend the closed-door meeting were Senators Loren Legarda, Grace Poe, Francis Escudero, Franklin Drilon, and Ralph Recto who are both ex-officio members.
Sotto said the committee would discuss whether it has valid jurisdiction over the complaint since the accusations of alleged crime or offense done by De Lima was done prior to her being a member of the Senate. (Hannah Torregoza)