A ranking member of the Commission on Appointments (CA) on Sunday dared Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano to release proof of bribery that allegedly came into play for the body’s rejection of Gina Lopez as Environment secretary.
Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III, CA majority leader, issued the challenge after Alejano announced that he would file a resolution seeking an investigation on the matter.
Albano said his colleague should “eat” his resolution if he will fail to produce evidence.
“Sige, kung may ebidensya siya, okay. Pero kung wala siyang ebidensya, kainin niya ‘yung resolution niya,” the lawmaker told radio dzBB.
Alejano announced that he would file the said resolution after President Rodrigo Duterte implied that “lobby money talks” in the CA’s rejection of Lopez’ appointment last week.
The Magdalo representative, who filed an impeachment complaint against Duterte in March, said House leaders should give due course to the resolution to show that its members are “not guilty” of the said accusation.
He said the President’s remark was “a serious allegation.”
“It is an assault to the integrity of the Commission on Appointment and its members. Since all of the House contingent, I understand, voted against Gina Lopez, it is also an assault to the integrity and reputation of the House of Representatives as an institution,” he said.
“But if proven true, concerned members of CA must be held accountable. A case before the Ethics Committee, therefore, is in order,” he added.
But for Albano, Alejano’s move is a “double-edged sword,” and said the Magdalo representative will win no matter how the circumstances turn out.
The CA majority leader said Alejano’s call for an investigation was pitting the body’s members—most of whom are from the supermajority—against Duterte, whom they support.
“Pinag-aaway niya kami nina Presidente dahil alam niya na karamihan sa amin, galing sa supermajority ng House. So ang nangyayari, he is pitting one against the other,” he said. “Kaya sa statement ko, [sabi ko], ‘some people are more clever than the devil.’”
Albano raised the possibility of filing an ethics complaint against Alejano if he cannot prove the allegations.
“Kung magfa-file siya ng ethics [complaint] laban sa amin, maglabas siya ng ebidensya, kung sino ‘yung nasuhulan. ‘Pag ‘di niya ma-prove ‘yan, ibabalik ko ‘yong ethics [complaint] sa kaniya,” he said.
“Hahayaan ko muna siya. Sige, maghain muna siya. After that, hindi niya mapatunayan ‘yon, siya naman ang fa-file-an namin ng ethics [complaint]. He is imputing motives doon sa actions namin,” he added.
Since Duterte’s statement, several CA members have denied getting money from lobbyists.
Malacañang on Sunday clarified that the President’s statement was not made against the body, but was only meant to “highlight the existence of certain vested interests in the appointment of officials.”
The Palace also underscored Duterte’s respect for CA’s independence.