THE complaint filed by resigned Bureau of Customs (BOC) chief Nicanor Faeldon against Senator Panfilo Lacson and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV is an exercise in futility.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said that although Faeldon has his constitutional right as a citizen, the former BOC chief has no right to file any complaint before the ethics committee of the Senate, "until he himself shows that he respects the process of the blue ribbon committee by appearing and answering the questions of the blue ribbon committee."
"His conduct is really contemptuous because he refuses to appear and he disrespects the processes of the Senate. And my view is if he disrespects the processes of the blue ribbon, he has no right to appear before the ethics committee and ask for a remedy and a relief," Drilon said.
Senate blue ribbon chair Richard Gordon put Faeldon in contempt and ordered him arrested. Faeldon showed up at the Senate but refused to attend the committee hearing and chose instead to be detained.
Faeldon had filed ethics complaints against Lacson for tagging him as a recipient of the "tara" corruption system at the Bureau of Customs.
On Monday, Faeldon also filed another ethics complaint against Trillanes IV.
Drilon insisted that Faeldon who showed evident disrespect by refusing to appear before the blue ribbon committee in effect also disrespects the Senate as an institution.
"He remains in contempt of the Senate and should be detained throughout the duration of the 17th Congress," Drilon said.
Drilon said Faeldon cannot face the ethics committee and ask them to punish Lacson and Trillanes when he himself shows evident disrespect for the rules and procedures of the Senate.
Drilon had suggested to the committee on ethics not to recognize the complaints of Faeldon until he submits himself to the rules of the Senate, which include appearing before the committee as he was asked by its chairman to testify and answer questions from the panel members.
"That was unanimously approved by the committee," Drilon said.
Drilon further said that Faeldon's detention is indefinite and can last up to the end of the 17th Congress.
"If he refuses to appear before the blue ribbon committee, then he just remains in detention," he said.
Drilon added that the hearing should not be terminated until Faeldon is compelled to appear, saying doing so would weaken the citation for contempt of any witness that will be called by any Senate committee.
"Because if there is that rule, aba hindi na lang ako sisipot. Magpa-contempt ako tapos afterwards ite-terminate na yung hearing, does that mean that the citation for contempt is already academic?" he said.
The purpose of citing a resource person in contempt is to compel them to testify, Drilon said, adding, "That's the rule. The detention is not a penalty but a form of coercion for them to appear."
The contempt of the committee is the contempt of the Senate, Drilon said.
A former Justice Secretary, Drilon said the Senate must not allow anyone to challenge them insisting that the issue raised against Faeldon are valid.
Lacson, for his part, described Faeldon as an overly boastful hypocrite, as he maintained that he will not allow any diversionary tactics from some people that were obviously trying to divert the issue to confuse the people.
Lacson admitted he is obsessed to dig deeper into the issue as he revealed that he is gathering all the information, pertinent documents and pieces of evidence of file as many cases as he can.
Lacson's reaction came after Faeldon filed an ethics complaint against him and Trillanes.
"This is a democracy. He is free to file his case against anyone but this will not stop me from pursuing to dig deeper into the truth." Lacson said.
For his part, Trillanes said the style of Faeldon is nothing but squid tactics.
"I will face the ethics complaint filed against me squarely because I believe that I did not do anything to warrant such a case," said Trillanes. (SunStar Philippines)