By Leonel Abasola

ALL LIES. Senators Ronald Dela Rosa, Francis Tolentino, Francis Escudero and Jinggoy Estrada (from left, main photo) attend the resumption of the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs hearing on the alleged leaked Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency confidential documents on May 13, 2024. Resource persons Francis Del Valle (inset, upper photo), PDEA Legal and Prosecution Service Acting Director; and former agency chief Dionisio Santiago (inset, lower right) branded ex-agent Jonathan Morales’ (inset, lower left) testimonies as lies and fabrications. (PNA photos by Avito Dalan)

MANILA – Senate President Francis Escudero on Friday announced the release from detention of former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agent Jonathan Morales and former National Police Commission staff Eric Santiago, who were both cited in contempt for lying during hearings on the so called “PDEA leaks.”

Escudero said the two were allowed to go home Thursday night after Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada and Senator Ronald Dela Rosa informed him in separate calls that they were allowing the release.

Estrada cited Morales in contempt for lying about his personal record while Santiago earned Dela Rosa’s ire for admitting that he bluffed Morales so he can appear before the Senate probe.

On Wednesday night, Estrada had a one-on-one conversation with Morales inside the Senate detention facility.

Escudero said he also got a chance to talk to the two detained resource persons during his inspection of all offices in the Senate building.

As a rule, resource persons cited in contempt can be released from Senate detention if the investigating committee is satisfied with their testimony or if Congress adjourns.

The Second Regular Session of the 19th Congress adjourned sine die on Wednesday.

The Third Regular Session will open in July, coinciding with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.‘s third State of the Nation Address.

During the fourth and supposedly last hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs on May 20, former executive secretary Paquito Ochoa denied the claim of Morales that he ordered the halt of an alleged surveillance operation against then-senator Marcos and actress Maricel Soriano in 2012.

Ochoa said he does not know former PDEA deputy director general Carlos Gadapan, whom he supposedly ordered to discontinue with the operation.

In a previous hearing, former PDEA director general Dionisio Santiago called Morales an STL (story telling liar). (PNA)