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Koko says Senate rules don’t allow committees to grant protective custody to whistleblowers

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Senate President Koko Pimentel is disputing the claim of Senators Franklin Drilon that a Senate committee can grant on its own protective custody to self-confessed Davao Death Squad hit man Edgar Matobato.

In an interview with DZBB’s Nimfa Ravelo, Pimentel said: “I also read the Senate rules, rules on inquiry, and there is no mention that the committee has the power to provide protective custody. They should read it.”

Drilon claimed that while Pimentel had the power to bar Matobato from using the Senate as a safe haven, the Senate has no power to override the Senate committee on justice and human rights decision to give protective custody to Matobato outside the Senate.

“Kung sakaling Good Samaritan ang set up nila, katulad nang sinasabi ni Senatr Antonio Trillanes, wala na tayong question diyan. Kunyari may extra na bahay ang isang senador, dun niya ipatira si Matobato, ano pa po ang angal namin dun? wala na po kaming angal dun,” said Pimentel.

But Pimentel said they could not force him to allow Matabato to stay in the Senate because the Senate President has the sole responsibility of the Senate’s facilities.

He said the committee could use its funds to pay for protecting Matobato but they should be ready to copy with rules of the Commission on Audit.

“Basta ma liquidate lang po, may rules kami how to liquidate. They have to follow COA regulations wala rin pong reklamo dun, responsibility na rin ng COA yun,” said Pimentel who believed that Matobato’s testimony was irrelevant to the hearing and that there was no danger to his life.