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House Justice panel has final say on Leila video

The House Committee on Justice, not House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez, has the final say on whether or not the alleged sex video of Sen. Leila M. de Lima will be accepted as evidence and played in next week’s resumption of hearings on the alleged drug trafficking operations run by convicts at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.

House Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas said the committee chaired by Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali is tasked to issue a ruling on the issue, apparently through voting by its members.

Reacting to criticisms heaped on the alleged decision of Alvarez to allow the public showing of the video, Umali said the House leader’s vote in resolving the controversy is counted as just one among the nearly three dozen members of the House panel.

In a manifesto, legislators, 34 of them women, slammed the proposal as they called on the “men in the House of Representatives” to observe “circumspection and sobriety” as they arrive at a decision on any motion to play the video.

Earlier, the House opposition led by Minority Leader Danilo Suarez and Senior Minority Leader Lito Atienza vowed to oppose any motion to have the alleged video clip shown in public.

Former Commission on Human Rights chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales claimed Alvarez has approved the playing of the sex video with the “apparent concurrence of Justice Secretary Aguirre.”

“It is despicable, disgusting, and deplorable,” insisted Rosales.

However, Umali said Alvarez cannot decide on the video question, being a mere ex-officio member of the committee.

Farinas said the petition signed by lawmakers will be discussed with Alvarez.

“This particular matter has been duly referred to the Committee on Justice which has taken jurisdiction over it. The matter of the viewing of the alleged vide of Sen. De Lima will be addressed and resolved by it,” Farinas stressed. (Ben R. Rosario)