REP. Rachel del Mar (Cebu City, north) delivered her first privileged speech

yesterday, responding to allegations a senator raised against former chief justice Hilario Davide Jr.

“What I heard back home, in the face to face meetings, interviews with local leaders, feedback from ordinary people in opinion sections of newspapers and radio talk shows, convinced me that I must share with you the anger and pain expressed by many Cebuanos,” del Mar said.

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Her speech came six days after Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada attacked Davide’s appointment as head of the Truth Commission, calling it a “moral contradiction.”

He had said Davide is “no different from the very subject” of the Truth Commission, former president and now Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Del Mar said the Cebuanos are “incensed” because Estrada raised the same allegations Davide was already cleared of in 2003, when he survived an impeachment attempt.

She described the allegations, mainly on the supposed misuse of the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF), as unfounded. It was del Mar’s father Raul who represented the north district when the impeachment attempt took place.

Congresswoman del Mar recalled that on Nov. 11, 2003, the House of Representatives

voted not to transmit to the Senate the articles of impeachment, after the Supreme Court decided the second complaint against Davide was unconstitutional.

“The Cebuanos raged then in 2003, as they do now, because they love Davide,” she said.

She retraced the former chief justice’s public service record, from when he was a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1971, until his appointment as permanent representative to the United Nations. Davide had also served as chairman of the Commission on Elections, as well as head of a commission on electoral reforms.

“They all attest to his integrity and dedication,” del Mar said.

Davide, she pointed out, has been honored by schools, foundations, non-government organizations, business organizations, the church, local governments, civil society groups, and other institutions here and abroad.

“What can be a more vigorous testament to the basic integrity of the man?” she said.

Del Mar urged Davide’s critics to respect President Benigno Aquino III’s decision and give Davide the chance to show “independence of mind, unfettered by friendship or sentiment,” in investigating charges against some deals and transactions of the former administration. (EOB)