By Wilnard Bacelonia

Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada (Photo courtesy of Senate PRIB)

MANILA – Senator Jinggoy Estrada on Monday reminded the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs that legislative processes should always “uphold truth, integrity, and fairness,” as he questioned why disgraced Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agent Jonathan Morales is still allowed to testify in the Senate.

“I call upon the Senate Public Order Committee to uphold its duty to the Filipino people by exercising due diligence in verifying the veracity of information presented before it and by refraining from legitimizing falsehoods and fabricated stories,” he said in his opening statement at the hearing.

“Allowing the dissemination of false information and fabricated narratives not only undermines the credibility of our institutions but also jeopardizes the pursuit of genuine justice and accountability,” he said.

He said Morales, whom he has branded as a “congenital liar,” is facing various criminal complaints in different local courts, which include planting of evidence, estafa and extortion.

Kabilang dito ang paglabag sa Article 180 ng Revised Penal Code, ang batas na nagtatakda ng parusa para sa mga taong nagbibigay ng peke o maling testimonya laban sa isang akusado at kasalukuyan itong naka-pending sa Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 4 sa (This includes violation of Article 180 of the Revised Penal Code, the law that sets the penalty for people who give fake or false testimony against an accused, and it is currently pending in the Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 4 in) San Fernando, Pampanga),” he said.

Estrada said senators have “a deep responsibility to ensure the truth in the statements of individuals who stand as witnesses or our resource persons,” emphasizing that this is not just a duty as legislators, but “a moral obligation.”

“There is no room in our hearings for those who spread lies or make perjury statements, especially since they swore to tell the truth only,” he said.

In response, Senator Ronald Dela Rosa, the panel chair, assured that the committee will not “go overboard” in the “PDEA Leaks” hearing but clarified that the inquiry only seeks to “hear everyone” without any hidden agenda.

He said while he believed in some of Morales’ testimonies, there were times when he doubted what the disgraced PDEA agent was saying.

“It’s up for us to evaluate yung mga sinasabi nila kung totoo ba yan o hindi (if what the witnesses said are true or not),” he said.

He said his committee will stay “objective and neutral.” (PNA)