Ethics complaint only involves probe on Villar's conduct
The ongoing hearings of the Senate committee of the whole on the ethics complaint filed against Sen. Manny Villar is focused only on the conduct of the respondent, Senator Richard J. Gordon (Ind.) today clarified.
"I would like to make it clear that what we are investigating here is the conduct, the manner by which a certain act was done. The standards of the ethics committee are different from that of a criminal court," he said.
"Kung may nililitis dito, 'yun ay ang miyembro ng Senado na hindi sumangguni doon sa dapat na ulirang asal ng isang senador na makaka-apekto sa Senado o nakatatama sa reputasyon at integridad ng Senado," he added.
Gordon, vice-chairman of the Senate ethics committee, explained that the investigation will only determine whether the respondent's conduct has sullied the reputation of the Senate. A criminal case, if any, should be filed before the Office of the Ombudsman.
Gordon also stressed that he will remain independent, firm and fair in the ongoing investigation.
"I will carefully study Sen. President (Juan Ponce) Enrile's report on the preliminary inquiry on the complaint against Sen. Villar. Kung sa aking palagay hindi dapat ma-convict, 'yun ang sasabihin ko. Pero kung malinaw ang ebidensya, dapat ituloy," he said.
"This is about the Senate. Ethics are inherent in any legislative body. We have to abide by our own rules of ethics and conduct. If you do not abide by these rules, then you are going beyond, you are subject to unethical conduct. This is not the first time this has happened in a legislative body," Gordon added.
In 1946, senators Ramon Diokno, Jose Vera and Jose Romero were denied their Senate seats for allegedly committing "fraud and terrorism."
In 1949, Sen. Jose Avelino was ousted as Senate President and suspended from the Upper Chamber of Congress for a year because of the scandals concerning his Senate and Liberal Party presidencies.
In 1960, Rep. Sergio Osmeña Jr. was suspended for 15 months for "serious disorderly behavior" when he criticized then President Carlos Garcia's veto of the anti-graft bill.