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Philippines Today

By ALFRED GABOT

 

 

PASAY CITY (PhilAmPress) — Charged with criminal cases involving illegal drugs and ordered arrested by the Muntinlupa City Trial Court over the charges, a defiant Sen. Leila de Lima surrendered to police after she holed up overnight at her Senate office early morning of Feb. 24.

 

On the same day, De Lima was detained at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame near where former Senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada who she had charged in connection with the pork barrel scam have been detained.

 

The following day, De Lima, through lawyer Alex Padilla, asked the Supreme Court to quash the charges and the arrest warrant issued against her and sought for a temporary restraining order (TRO) but the High Court, in an en banc session, did not grant her petition for TRO.

 

But the High Tribunal asked the Philippine National Police and the Muntinlupa Trial Court to comment on de Lima’s petition.

 

The arrest of Senator De Lima raised speculation that Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, another critic of President Rodrigo Duterte, could be next to be charged and detained but the President said he sees the senator “too insignificant” to bother himself with. 

 

“He is too insignificant to bother yourself. Hindi na ko papatol doon,” Duterte told reporters in Malacañang.

 

The statement was made after Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II asked a pro-Duterte rally attended by more than 200,000 followers at the Rizal Park to help him pin down Trillanes.   

 

Trillanes was responsible for exposing the Duterte family’s alleged P2.2 billion bank accounts during the campaign period in 2016 which he recently revived to prove that Duterte is not poor. Trillanes also linked Duterte to extrajudicial killings in Davao City while he was city mayor, allegations which President Duterte vehemently denied.

 

Aguirre asked the Duterte supporters at the rally who they want to go after next. They replied, “Trillanes.” 

 

President Duterte assured the safety of Sen. de Lima in Camp Crame where her lawyers said she was okay and in high spirit. Aside from her lawyers, Sens. Francis Pangilinan and Trillanes and other supporters and relatives have visited De Lima at the detention cell.

 

"I assure that she is safe. I think people are interested not to see her dead but to see her in prison for what she did," the President said during an ambush interview in Malacañang.

 

De Lima's co-accused, Ronnie Dayan, the senator's former driver and admitted lover, was also arrested in his hometown Urbiztondo in Pangasinan and detained at the Muntinlupa City jail after being processed by police and the court.

 

A second co-accused, former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officer-in-charge and former deputy director of the National Bureau of Investigation Rafael Ragos surrendered to NBI before noon on Sunday and was temporarily detained at the NBI.

 

Dayan and Ragos were included in the arrest warrant issued for Sen. De Lima by Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court Branch 204 Executive Judge Juanita Guerrero.

 

Muntinlupa RTC Branch 204 is handling Criminal Case No. 17-165 which specifically charged De Lima, Dayan and Ragos for violation of Section 5 (sale) in relation to Section 3 (jj trading), Section 26 (b) and Section 28 or the criminal liability of government officials and employees under Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

 

The Department of Justice had alleged that De Lima received around P10 million in drug payoffs from November 2012 to early 2013 through her co-accused, former Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) officer-in-charge Rafael Ragos.

 

Ragos said he delivered, along with aide Jovencio Ablen Jr., the money to De Lima's house in Parañaque City.

 

The money was allegedly received by De Lima's former driver-bodyguard Ronnie Dayan, also a co-accused in the non-bailable case for violations of Section 5 and Section 28 of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.

 

SC spokesman Theodore Te said the directive was issued following Tuesday’s regular en banc session of the magistrates.

 

The SC deferred ruling on De Lima's pleas for issuance of TRO stopping the proceedings in the drug cases against her and status quo ante order on the arrest warrant issued last week by Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 204 that would allow her release from detention.

 

Te said respondents Muntinlupa City RTC Judge Juanita Guerrero and the Philippine National Police (PNP), are given a non-extendible period of 10 days or until March 10 to answer the petition while the oral arguments are set on March 14(Tuesday) at 2 p.m.

 

In an 81-page petition for certiorari with prayers for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and or a temporary restraining order, De Lima through her lawyers asked the high court to set aside the arrest warrant issued last week by Muntinlupa RTC Branch 204 Judge Guerrero and to stop her from conducting further proceedings.

 

De Lima also asked the SC to issue a status quo ante order aimed at restoring the status prior to the issuance of the arrest warrant.

 

De Lima was detained at the PNP Custodial Center after she was brought to the Muntinlupa court for processing.

 

The lady senator appeared before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 204 for the return of the arrest warrant.

 

"The Court finds sufficient probable cause for Violation of Comprehensive Dangerous Drug Act of 2002, Sec. 5 in rel. to Sec. 3, Sec.26 & Sec. 28 of R.A. No. 9165 (Illegal Drug Trading). Wherefore, accused Leila M. De Lima is ordered committed to the Custodial Service Unit in Camp Crame, Quezon City," the order read.

 

Dayan was placed in the custody of the Muntinlupa City Jail.

 

Dayan is held alone in his detention cell, as he is a high profile detainee. He has his own bed, police said.

 

Separate cases for three counts of drug trafficking against were filed against De Lima before the Muntinlupa RTC which were assigned to three different courts.

 

The cases for sale and trading of illegal drugs and liability of government officials under Republic Act 9165 (Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act) were assigned to RTC Branch 204 Judge Juanita Guerrero, Branch 205 Judge Amelia Fabros-Corpuz and Branch 206 Judge Patria Manalastas-De Leon.

 

The first case in Branch 204 include De Lima, Dayan and Ragos.

 

De Lima is joined by her nephew Jose Adrian Dera in the second case in Branch 205.

 

Lastly, the third case in Branch 206 is against De Lima, Dera, Dayan, former BuCor chief Franklin Bucayu, his alleged bagman Wilfredo Elli, high-profile inmate Jaybee Sebastian and De Lima's former bodyguard Jonel Sanchez.

 

In asking the SC to nullify the arrest warrant, De Lima said Guerrero “acted with undue haste and inordinate interest” since she has yet toresolve nor even hear the motion to quash filed by her lawyer after the DOJ filed the case against her.

 

“Haste, when unduly applied in the context of the criminal justice system, such that it constitutes a blatant failure to respect and uphold a person's fundamental rights, and to observe the guarantees enshrined in the Constitution to protect the rights of the accused, it results in something far more destructive, more pestilent and graver than mere imperfection," the petition said.

 

“Definitely, aggrieved with the acts and omissions of Judge Guerrero, which grossly violated her substantive and procedural rights, that amounted to grave abuse of discretion on the part of respondent judge, petitioner files this petition for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure,” it added.

 

De Lima, however, stressed only the Office of the Ombudsman has the jurisdiction to conduct the preliminary investigation of the case and not the DOJ panel of prosecutors and that only the Sandiganbayan -- not the RTC -- has the same jurisdiction over the offense she was accused to have allegedly committed when she was still the DOJ chief during the previous administration.

 

The lady senator  said Guerrero’s issuance of the arrest warrant and commitment order did not follow the constitutional requirements and procedural rules.

 

De Lima said even a casual reading of the one paragraph arrest order will reveal that the judge did not rely on the required documents to make a personal determination of probable cause adding that the documents should have been the report of the DOJ panel and the evidence submitted by the said panel to the court and not the information and the evidence presented at the DOJ during the preliminary investigation.

 

Her motion to quash and motion of judicial determination of probable cause were filed arguing that it is the Ombudsman and eventually Sandiganbayan and not the court that has jurisdiction over her case.

 

The government's top counse, however, said that Judge Juanita Guerrero of the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 204 did not commit grave abuse of discretion in issuing a warrant of arrest against Senator Leila De Lima in connection the drug charges filed against her.

 

“The judge shall issue a warrant of arrest if she finds probable cause after personally evaluating the resolution of the prosecutor and its supporting evidence. This is clearly set forth in Rule 112, Section 6 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure. Nowhere in the rules does it require the judge to personally examine witnesses in the form of searching questions and answers for the purpose of issuing the warrant of arrest,” Solicitor General Jose C. Calida explained.

 

“There is no truth to the allegation that the warrant of arrest was issued prematurely,” he added.

 

The trial judge, on her part, said that she personally studied the records of the case to determine whether there was probable cause to issue a warrant of arrest.

 

According to Calida, a preliminary investigation is an inquiry to determine whether there is sufficient ground to create a logical belief that a crime has been committed, and that the accused is probably guilty thereof and should be held for trial.

 

“This determination of probable cause for the issuance of warrant of arrest should precede the resolution of Senator De Lima’s motion to quash the information. A finding of probable cause needs only to rest on evidence showing that more likely than not a crime was committed by the accused. It need not be based on evidence establishing guilt beyond reasonable doubt,” Calida explained.

 

“In Senator De Lima’s case, she did not show up at her preliminary investigation. Although her presence is not mandatory, she did not adduce any evidence on her behalf. Not even a counter-affidavit to refute the allegations against her was filed. She just sent her lawyer to question the jurisdiction of the prosecution panel,” he said.

 

“As a former Secretary of Justice and now senator, she should follow the law and the rules of court. No one is above the law, not even Senator De Lima,” he added.

 

Calida further explained that the issuance of a warrant is necessary to acquire jurisdiction over the person of Senator De Lima.

 

“It should be noted that a motion to quash seeks for an affirmative relief. How can she seek an affirmative relief from the court when the court has no jurisdiction over her person?” he asked.

 

“In this case, the judge did not act arbitrarily when she issued the warrant of arrest against Senator De Lima,” Calida opined.

 

Calida earlier said that De Lima should be tried before the RTC and not in the Sandiganbayan, citing Section 90 of R.A. No. 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act, which provides that RTCs have exclusive jurisdiction to try and hear cases involving illegal drug activities.

 

By JO ERLINDA G. NEBRES

 

(Photo from Instagram | @maindcm)

 

Don’t look now but the relationship of phenomenal acting pair Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza on television, and now movies, maybe going from reel to real.

 

This was hinted by Alden and Maine themselves as they move from the long-running and top lunchtime show on GMA network, “Eat Bulaga” to primetime in an opera titled “Destined to be Yours.”

 

“Destined To Be Yours” premiered last Feb. 27 on GMA after “Encantadia” on GMA Telebabad.

 

According to showbusiness authority Mario Bautista, Alden had no inkling that his being hospitalized due to throat infection will spark a conflict between his very possessive fans. One faction of his fans got jealous when it was reported that he allowed another group of his admirers to visit him in his hospital room while the others were banned. Because of this, some fans threatened to withdraw their support from him. Alden has to explain to the jealous fans that no such thing as him favoring some fans over the others ever happened.

 

Later Alden finally returned to “Eat Bulaga” looking a bit slimmer but back to his former bubbly self. He was back just in time to promote his first primetime soap with Maine Mendoza, “Destined to Be Yours.” He was actually having high fever during the show’s presscon on Valentine’s Day but he still showed up to prove he’s a professional, Mario Bautista reported.

 

Alden was taken to the hospital right after the presscon and his few days rest on his hospital bed did him a lot of good. He told his fans: “By God’s grace I am healed. Thank you Lord and thank you for the prayers po.” But his doctors told him to take it easy and not to accept too heavy   workload as his health would surely suffer. Whatever he earns from all his ‘rakets’, he’ll just spend them on doctors and medicines.

 

Alden admitted he and Maine are both eager to find out how the viewers will receive “Destined to Be Yours.”

 

Prior to the airing of the series, Alden said: “Siyempre, first time naming mapapanood sa isang primetime series kaya kabado kami. Ibang-iba naman ito sa Kalyeserye ng ‘Eat Bulaga’. One thing we can promise is maganda talaga ang show at pinaghusayan ng lahat ng kasama namin dito so we’re proud of it at di kami mapapahiya sa viewers.”

 

Richards, 25, who is Richard Reyes Faulkerson, Jr. in real life, and Maine, 21, whose real name is Nicomaine Dei Capili Mendoza, star and became a hit in Eat Bulaga!s segment, an improvised soap called “Kalyeserye.” Their appearance on the show launched endorsement deals for both performers with huge brands such as McDonald’s, as well as sold-out concert deals.

 

Richards became part of Eat Bulaga! only in 2015 where he appeared as a host in the segment "That's My Bae." And on July 16, 2015, Richards was accidentally paired to his Eat Bulaga! co-host Maine "Yaya Dub" Mendoza during an episode of the "Juan for All, All for Juan" segment. They instantly became a love team, dubbed as AlDub.

 

And because of their popularity, Eat Bulaga! created a mini-series for AlDub labeled by Joey de Leon as Kalyeserye within the segment "Juan for All, All for Juan." In Kalyeserye, Richards plays different roles including fictionalized version of himself and as Anselmo.


According to top columnist Mario Bautista and showbiz writer Joseph Garcia, Richards, who was born in Sta. Rosa City, Laguna and is of American descent,  was an actor since 2011 (he had a short stint as a reality tv contestant on StarStruck, another GMA project).

 

 Maine, on the other hand, who hails from Sta. Maria Bulacan, completed a bachelor's degree in hotel, restaurant and institution management major in culinary arts at De La Salle-College of St. Benilde and had her internship at The Sagamore in Bolton Landing, New York. She struck out as a viral YouTube star in the early part of 2015 when she she posted a Dubsmash compilation on Facebook. A compilation in which she impersonated Kris Aquino went viral with one million views overnight. This earned her the title "Queen of Dubsmash" in the Philippines. Subsequently, she was cast as Yaya Dub (also known as Divina Ursula Bukbukova Smash), the personal assistant of Lola Nidora (portrayed by Wally Bayola), on Eat Bulaga!'s "Juan For All, All For Juan" segment and first appeared on July 4, 2015. Her character in the segment was paired accidentally with fellowEat Bulaga! co-host Alden Richards, on July 16, 2015, in a romantic-comedy sketch part of the show titled "Kalyeserye"; the couple became popularly known as "AlDub."

 

Due to her meteoric rise in the teleseries, in November 2015, Maine joined the cast of Princess in the Palace as Chef Elize, her first appearance in an actual teleserye. In December 2015, she appeared as a guest star in the TV sitcom Vampire Ang Daddy Ko and in the Sunday noontime variety show Sunday PinaSaya.

 

Maine and Richards starred in a 2015 Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) entry entitled My Bebe Love #KiligPaMore together with Vic Sotto and Ai-Ai de las AlasJose Javier Reyes, the director of the film, said Maine played Anna Carillo, the stubborn and rebellious child of Vic Sotto's character. She was given the Best Supporting Actress award by the MMFF for her role.



In their new and first primetime soap, “Destined To Be Yours,”  Alden plays an architecture graduate named Benjie who just happens to be a long-lost heir to a real estate empire. His grandparents are played by veteran actors Boots Anson-Roa and Tommy Abuel, while Lotlot de Leon plays as his mother. Ina Feleo plays his young, antagonistic aunt.

 

As part of his quest to win his grandparents’ acceptance, Alden, as Benjie, tries to secure a deal in a mountain town called Pelangi, where Maine’s character, Sinag, works as a radio DJ and lives with her family, her parents played by Gardo Verzosa and Janice de Belen. Ms. De Belen’s character is a psychic and mystic, and paints a mural of her daughter’s “One True Love,” as he appeared in a dream. He curiously looks like Alden Richards.

Many published reports from columnists and showbiz writers like Joseph Garcia indicated that the pair’s primetime show is directed by Irene Villamor.

Other members of the cast include Ronnie Henares as the corrupt town mayor, Koreen Medina as the mayor’s daughter; Sheena Halili, RJ Padilla, and Juancho Trivino as Sinag’s friends, and Dominic Roco as Benjie’s best friend.

According to Mario Bautista, it is Alden’s first leading role in a primetime soap opera since 2014 (he has, however, starred in the docudrama Jose Rizal, which earned him a Best Actor award from the 29th PMPC Star Awards for Television), and has had several roles in different timeslots and non-leading man roles in between.

 

On the other hand, the show is Maine’s first leading role in a primetime soap.

When asked about their feelings about being leads in a teleserye during a press conference, Alden pointed out that he has had to make some adjustments considering that his role as the other half of AlDub relies heavily on improvisation.

 

 “Na-miss ko po’ng gumawa ng teleserye kasi doon po ako nag-start (I missed making teleseryes because that’s how I started),” he said.

Maine, on the other hand, quoted viral beauty pageant contestant Janina San Miguel, and said, “No, I don’t feel any pressure right now.”

“More on excitement ang nararamdaman ko ngayon (More on excitement is how I feel now),” she added.

Since the show revolves around the theme of finding your destiny, however unlikely, reporters at the Valentine’s Day press conference in Quezon City asked the pair if they believed in destiny, and Alden answered by relating the concept to his career.

 

Alden said: “Kagaya po ng nangyari sa Aldub, hindi po namin siya ma-put into words, kung paano po ipapaliwanag iyong nangyari sa amin ni Maine. So mahirap po talaga mag-isip kung ano talaga ’yung signs na destined kayo para sa isa’t isa (Just like what happened with AlDub; we can’t put it into words, how to explain what happened between Maine and I. So it’s not easy to think about the signs that you’re really destined for each other).”

Maine Mendoza, on the other hand, said, “Hindi naman po siguro kami mapupunta dito hindi naman po kami nagkakakilala niAlden (I don’t think we’d be here if Alden and I never met).”

Veteran actor Boots Anson-Roa, meanwhile, gave her two cents on the matter, using the theological doctrine of predestination. “Meron tayong term sa relihiyon natin na tinatawag na predestination, na kapag ang taopinanganakmayroon nang nakadestino para sa kanya (We have a term in our religion called predestination in which a person, once one is born, is already destined toward something).” She then tackled the conflict between predestination and the use of free will neatly. “Ang importante ay kung papaano natin tinatahak iyong landas papunta sa destiny na iyon (What’s important is how we arrive to our destiny). That’s why we use our free will. Kahit mayroon tayong predestined future (even if we have a predestined future), then it is up to us, during our lifetime here, to process that, and to practice our free will.”

 

(Photo from Instagram | @poilo_pascual)

 

They say life begins at 40 and this may well be the case with popular actor Piolo Pascual.

 

This as his star continues to shine as he celebrated his 40th birthday and his second decade as one of the most celebrated matinee idols and versatile personalities in the entertainment industry.

 

Piolo said he is grateful with the turn of events about himself as a person and his career which he described as “thriving.”

 

For one, Piolo said he is convinced that his first decade have defined and prepared him for the next ten years in the business.

 

Cementing his previous statement that leaving the business is no longer an idea in his horizon, the singer-actor also disclosed how he intends to tackle the next more decades.

 

Aside from being a reliable actor and an overall kind man, Piolo has earned the perception of being a reserved and safe. This time, he promised that his supporters could expect him to go beyond his comfort zone.

    
Not only that, Piolo told showbiz journalists that he is also keen on “giving back” to the business and to the people who have served as family and who have embraced him through the years.

    
During his 40th birthday celebration last month, Piolo made sure that he marked it with the people who made him appreciate his blessings.

    
Thus, he joined and cheered up the children at the Hospicio de San Jose last December 23.

 

 Piolo also reached out to more fans, similar to what he did on his charity event last January 8 at the Justice Jose Abad Santos High School in Binondo.

    
Piolo’s dearest friends including Rayver Cruz, Shaina Magdayao, Pooh, Jed Madela, Erik Santos, Angeline Quinto, Tippy Dos Santos, Khalil Ramos, Aaron Villaflor, Marion Aunor, and teen stars Ylona Garcia, Loisa Andalio, joined him in his special event.

    
In place of an extravagant celebration, Piolo’s family and friends, with the help of StarStudio magazine, mounted a surprise birthday party for the January 2017 cover star last January 5.

 

Busy as he is, Piolo stars in the film “Once In A Lifetime” with Yen Santos and Raikko Mateo. Helmed by acclaimed director Dondon Santos, some of the film’s pivotal scenes were shot in New Zealand.

 

He is also looking forward to a television series and reunion with actress and singer Toni Gonzaga-Soriano. The series, “Written In The Stars” was put on hold after Toni got pregnant.

 

Getting a substitute for Toni, who has since given birth to a baby boy, is out of the question. “I actually messaged her,” Piolo intimated. “Sabi ko ‘If I were to do a soap, I really want to do it with you.’ Sabi naman niya she is ready to work byJanuary or February. Sabi niya ibabalik niya lang ’yung katawan niya.”

 

Given his success, many want to see Piolo finally settle down. However, the singer is taking his time.

 

“I’m just really grateful sa blessings na nangyayari sa buhay ko and I’ve come to the point na I don’t look for it anymore. As much as I don’t have time for it, I just want to enjoy life. I still have so many things I want to do so if it comes, it comes but I do hope it comes soon,” he said.

 

Piolo hopes his 19-year-old son Iñigo, who is in a relationship with Girl Trends member Kelley Day, would not rush into marriage himself.

 

“Sana ’wag naman pero… He has a girlfriend already and hindi natin mapipigilan ang bugso ng damdamin ng mga bata. Kaya sinasabi ko nalang na just be practical and be wise with all your decisions kasi ang isang pagkakamali, pwedeng mag-lead sa panghabang-buhay na pagsisihan, so just be wise and learn from other people’s mistakes and always strive to be better.”

 

One of the more health-conscious celebs around, Piolo wants to date someone who is also into sports. “Ideally, yeah. I remember before, kapag meron akong nagiging girlfriend, it’s either I buy her a bike or I invite her to run because it’s my regular activity and I want it na we could do things together,” he said.

    
Piolo said he is hoping to be able to get deeper into the business by focusing on other aspects such as movie production.
    
As a celebrity, he was honest enough that he’s somehow entertaining the idea of bringing his talent outside of the country.

    
“Hopefully I want to be able to do something regionally, like an international film. But I’m not keen on getting into Hollywood because I don’t think I’m young or old enough to be in it,” he explained.


On top of his dreams and goals, 2017 is sure to be packed for one of the pillars of the Kapamilya Network.

    
Musically, Piolo was slated to release his latest studio album titled “Piolo Pascual Greatest Themes.” Piolo also revealed that he’s currently collaborating on a new album with ace front man Ely Buendia. At the moment, Piolo is also looking into staging a concert sometime this year.

    
Those missing him in the big screen, meanwhile, need not wait any longer as his first film opposite Yen Santos titled “My Northern Light” is also set to hit the theaters on March 29.

        
Piolo happily welcomed the idea of having a new leading lady. After all he makes sure to give them the best and to cull certain lessons from them.

(Photo from Philippine Star/Pacquiao Office)

 

PASAY CITY — The Senate unexpectedly underwent reorganization due to "blurring lines" between the majority and minority blocs, leaving out Liberal Party (LP) senators in the majority bloc.

 

Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said LP senators were ousted from leadership posts and committee chairmanships, forcing them to join the minority bloc.

 

"There have been instances where the majority, instead of closing ranks, ended up divided. The majority of Senators decided that to best achieve the Senate's legislative agenda, clear lines have to be drawn," Pimentel said.

 

He, however, assured that the Senate will remain independent and true to its role as "the last bastion of democracy" in the country.

 

On Monday's plenary session, Sen. Manny Pacquiao voted to declare vacant the position of Senate President Pro-Tempore and committee chairmanships on the Senate Committees on Health, Agriculture and Education.

 

Sen. Franklin Drilon (LP) was ousted as Senate President Pro-Tempore while fellow LP Senators Risa Hontiveros, Francis Pangilinan and Paolo Benigno Aquino IV were ousted as chairpersons of the Health, Agriculture and Education committees.

 

Former Senate Minority Leader Ralph Recto took Drilon’s place as Senate President Pro-Tempore after 17 out of 23 senators present voted for this change.

 

The senators who voted for Recto as the new Senate President Pro-Tempore were Senators Nancy Binay, Alan Peter Cayetano, Joseph Victor Ejercito, Francis Escudero, Sherwin Gatchalian, Gregorio Gringo Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Loren Legarda, Cynthia Villar, Manny Pacquiao, and Grace Poe.

 

The senators who voted against Recto were Senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Aquino, Drilon, Hontiveros and Antonio Trillanes IV.

 

Senators Ejercito, Villar and Escudero became the new chairpersonss of the Senate Committees on Health, Agriculture and Education, respectively.

 

Recto moved to designate Trillanes the new Senate Minority Leader until the new minority decides among themselves who will be their new leader.

 

The new minority has five members namely Aquino, Drilon, Hontiveros, Pangilinan and Trillanes.

 

Drilon included detained Sen. Leila de Lima in the minority but Pimentel said that it is better to await for her formal communication.

 

The LP senators’ transfer to the minority bloc comes two days after their party mate, De Lima, was arrested by the Philippine National Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) for alleged drug trading charges. De Lima is currently detained in the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame.

 

Drilon said the LP would have stayed with the majority bloc if they were not stripped off their leadership posts and committee chairmanships.

 

He, however, assured that even if they were “kicked out”, they would continue to do their jobs.

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