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Home Columns Sen. Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. Philippine Senate Spends a Million Pesos So Far in Safeguarding Jun Lozada and Dante Madriaga
Philippine Senate Spends a Million Pesos So Far in Safeguarding Jun Lozada and Dante Madriaga PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - This Week With Nene Pimentel
Monday, 19 May 2008 22:50

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel, Jr., delivered yesterday a privilege speech in which he questioned the wisdom of spending scarce government resources in footing the bill even for the out-of-town speaking engagements of Rodolfo Lozada, Jr.


Here is the transcript of Senator Pimentel’s privilege speech of May 19, 2008:

I had the shock of my life this morning when I read in some newspapers that the Senate is spending almost a million pesos -- covering a space of so many months -- in trying to safeguard the lives of Mr. Rodolfo Lozada, Jr. and Mr. Dante Madriaga.

I have no objection for the Senate providing protection and keeping these two gentlemen in the custody of the Senate in order to protect them from harassment by other people especially because they are witnesses in a Senate probe.

But to incur that much money in expenses is unconscionable. We cannot find any justification for it. Are these people trying to live off the Senate, Mr. President, as if everything is normal? They are here because everything is not normal if they were to follow their own lives outside.

 

If we are going to allow such wanton misuse of the monies of the Senate intended for a good purpose but are being misused, then we have to account for that to our people. -- Senator PimentelI do appreciate, Mr. President, for the record, what Mr. Lozada and Mr. Madriaga have testified to before the Blue Ribbon Committee. It is a good thing that we have people of this kind, willing to stand up and be counted. There is a corresponding obligation on our part to try to protect them and enable them precisely to stand up and be counted.

But that said, I find it very difficult to justify that we would be spending so much money. I understand that, among other things, we are also covering the cost of Mr. Lozada’s going to his commitments outside of Manila to speak before so many audiences and thereby, incurring a lot of expenses that are shouldered by the Senate. I do not think that is covered by the “Witness Protection Program.”

Incidentally, I do not blame, Mr. Lozada or Mr. Madriaga. I blame the Senate, these personnel who are handling this matter. I think we should investigate them because, otherwise, we waste the people’s money and in the process abet wrongdoing in this country.

Mr. President, I make a motion right here and right now that we should investigate how the Senate personnel handle the problem of protecting Mr. Lozada and Mr. Madriaga from harassment by other people.

Mr. President, I remember that some time ago, we had another witness who was given protection by the Senate. This was a woman who was testifying against jueteng, if I am not mistaken. And I understand, while she was in the Senate, she was provided with a car.

My goodness! If we are going to allow such wanton misuse of the monies of the Senate intended for a good purpose but are being misused, then we have to account for that to our people. And we should start with the Senate personnel who are doing this thing because I think they owe us a lot of explanation, Mr. President.

Thank you.



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Last Updated on Monday, 19 May 2008 22:55
 

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