JUST last week, Senators Richard Gordon and Antonio Trillanes IV figured in a verbal tussle at the Senate Blue Ribbon committee hearing on the illegal drug shipment from China after the Gordon accused the former of badgering the witness, Mark Taguba.
This stemmed from Trillanes’ repeated motions to invite to the hearing Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and brother-in-law Atty. Manases Carpio after Taguba mentioned that they were allegedly part of the so-called Davao Group involved in payoffs at Customs.
Gordon and Senator Tito Sotto stated that there is a need to further study Trillanes’ request since the alleged involvement of Duterte and Carpio in the Customs operation was hearsay, which did not sit well with Trillanes as he accused the committee of ‘lawyering’ for Paolo and Manases.
The heated argument escalated further after Trillanes called the committee a ‘komite de absuwelto’, which obviously irked Gordon to the point that the committee chairman warned Trillanes that he would be cited in contempt for his statements.
Now, there is certainly nothing wrong in having debates in Senate hearings, but Trillanes was evidently barking up the wrong tree, since it is fair to say that before the Senate invites resource persons, it should have concrete evidence that those persons were really involved.
The question is, why is Trillanes hell-bent on involving the vice mayor and the son-in-law of the President of the Republic on corruption in the BOC when he himself has no solid evidence yet to prove their involvement?
Was Trillanes’ move just a personal vendetta against the President? Well, only the good senator knows.
But as Gordon pointed out, the involvement of Vice Mayor Duterte and Atty. Carpio is mere hearsay and the Senate is not a cockpit of chismis that will take action on any general statements without sufficient evidence.
The burden of proof should lie on Trillanes himself.