Sotto lashes out at Senate probe critics

Vicente Sotto III

SENATE President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III yesterday hit those who criticize the committee hearings on Good Conduct Time Allowance Law and the issue of ninja cops.

In his opening statement during the 9th joint Justice and Blue Ribbon Committee hearing, Sotto told critics particularly those claiming that the hearing is being politicized, to “zip it.”

“We just want to clear the air also on the issue that this has been turned into a political scenario. Definitely you are completely wrong when you say that,” said Sotto.

“For those who are not familiar with the Senate rules, my message is…zip it,” he added without naming names.

Last week, Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said that the hearings are becoming politicized.

“Apparently you’ve not been monitoring the hearings,” Sotto said.

“The Committee on Justice and the Blue Ribbon Committee convened an inquiry into the GCTA which evolved into the recycling and illegal activities in the BuCor or the New Bilibid Prisons. And it cannot be helped that there are illegal activities and the recycling of illegal drugs influenced by those inside the BuCor who are already behind bars but are still called drug lord. That is precisely why it has gone to the issue of recycling,” Sotto explained.

Contrary to Panelo’s remarks, Sotto said the details coming out of the hearings have no bearing on the current administration.

“The events that have been unearthed transpired in 2013. It doesn’t have anything to do with the drug war of the present administration,” the Senate president explained.

He further said that it’s only normal for the Senate, especially the Blue Ribbon panel chaired by Senator Richard Gordon, to conduct hearings or investigations into critical issues.