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Pro-Aquino solons blast Gordon report

Sen. Richard Gordon is under fire from his colleagues over the blue ribbon committee report on the Dengvaxia mess with two senators accusing him of bias in implicating former President Aquino to criminal accountability on the purchase of P3.5-billion worth of anti-dengue vaccine Dengvaxia in 2015.

In the wake of this development, Senate insiders raised the possibility of Gordon failing to muster the needed number of signatures to enable him to file the report in the Senate and have it placed in the calendar for deliberations for adoption of the findings and recommendations.
Senators Panfilo Lacson and Leila de Lima took the position that Gordon’s committee report is “pre-ordained.”
Lacson expressed his thoughts on the matter as he announced his decision not to affix his signature on the panel report, which to date, has been signed by six senators, including Gordon.

“The unreasonable comments made by Senator Gordon about me just firmed up my decision not to sign his committee report,” the senator said in a text message to reporters.

Lacson was referring to Gordon’s statements made during an interview with dzBB Sunday, where he was criticized by the latter along with Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV for supposedly coming to the defense of Aquino.
“While I did not attend a single hearing on Dengvaxia for obvious reason shared by most of my colleagues, I was closely monitoring the proceedings in my office,” he said.
Lacson, who is known to be a close friend of the former President, was apparently referring to the issue on Gordon, blue ribbon committee chairman, monopolizing the proceedings, which turned off a number of senators, some even going to the extent of “walking out” of the hearings.
“Having said that, even that early I had my reservations based on his prejudgement, which was too obvious to ignore. He was directing the investigation to suit the outcome that he had desired from the very start,” said Lacson.
De Lima, who branded the committee report as “the Gordon report” said the findings are as malicious as it is pre-ordained and “made-to-order” in accordance with the blue ribbon chair’s alleged political agenda.
“Like most of Gordon’s so-called legislative investigations, the Dengvaxia hearings were as much a farce as they were a political witchhunt. In this sense, the Gordon report is no different from, but instead is in perfect harmony with, the legendary hysterics of PAO (Public Attorney’s Office) Chief Persida Acosta,” she said in a statement.
“The blue ribbon committee Dengvaxia report is Gordon’s personal diatribe against former President Aquino, nothing more, nothing less. I will not wonder if only a few senators, or none at all other than Gordon signs it,” she said.
Not enough votes — sources
Senate sources noted de Lima’s statements concerning the lack of support of senators who are members of the blue ribbon committee in the findings and recommendations of the panel.
Gordon himself seemed to be aware of this, the reason he was calling up some senators over the weekend soliciting their signature on the report, sources said.
At least two senators, including one who already affixed his signature to the report, admitted having doubts on whether Gordon could muster the needed nine signatures.
The rules of the Senate require the signature of majority of the committee members is required in the submission of any committee report.
Only when the report is submitted to the bills and index division that it can be placed in the calendar for floor deliberations, the rules said.
A number of senators have expressed belief that on the lack of any basis to the warrant the filing of graft charges against Aquino for his role in the program involving the mass immunization of some 800,000 school children with Dengvaxia vaccine.
“Aquino may be guilty of incompetence but not of committing graft and corruption,” one of the senators said.
The same was echoed by one of those who already signed the report saying that Aquino may have been guilty of only negligence.
“I don’t believe that he will allow himself to be part of any corruption in (the transaction on) Dengvaxia (vaccines),” another senator said.
So far, aside from Gordon, Senators JV Ejercito, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Gregorio Honasan and Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III have already signed the report.
Sen. Nancy Binay also signed the report as a member of the committee on health and demography, the secondary committee, of which she is a member.
Ejercito, who is the chairman of the health committee, said he signed the report but will “introduce amendments” to the findings and recommendations.
Binay said the same saying that she affixed her signature but placed a marginal note that she “may amend (and) will interpellate” once the report is placed on the floor for deliberations.
Asked on her position on the accountability of Aquino, Binay evaded the question saying that the matter is subject to debates by her peers.
“We will still deliberate on that on the floor. It would be good to hear how Senator Gordon will defend the (committee) findings,” she said.
Besides Lacson, Trillanes also announced that he will not sign the report.
De Lima said the report is not a legislative investigation report but Gordon’s personal political manifesto demonizing Aquino and his administration.
“There is one sentence in the summary of the Senate Blue Ribbon Report on the Dengvaxia investigation that reveals the pathological manipulation and hostility exerted by the Committee Chairman in order to come out with a shameless Anti-Aquino Manifesto disguised as a Blue Ribbon Committee Report. In this summary, Gordon said that PNoy simply didn’t care for Filipino children in ordering the use of the Dengvaxia vaccine.
According to him: “This is in keeping with the character of the President [Aquino]. During the Mamasapano tragedy, he didn’t even visit the bodies of the fallen SAFs (Special Action Force),” said de Lima.
Over the weekend, Gordon insinuated that Trillanes and Lacson may have been only out to return Aquino’s favor given to them, aside from the fact that they’re both known political allies of the former president.
Gordon: all have debts to pay
In the said interview, Gordon said that he respects all the senators for their opinion yet he made a special mention on Trillanes and Lacson.
The senator noted that Trillanes was given pardon during the incumbency of Aquino while Lacson, who went into hiding after he was tagged as the mastermind in the Dacer-Corbito murder case surfaced in 2011, months after the former president assumed power.
Reports said that officials of Aquino helped facilitate his return from hiding.
“Lacson is a respectable person but I just want to say that of course, it is hard to forget that he had a hard time during the term of (former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo) PGMA, didn’t he hide? When did he surface? That was during the term of Preident Aquino when he was even made the chairman of the Yolanda (rehabilitation commission),” he said.
Trillanes, as early as last Thurday already announced that he will not sign the blue ribbon report on the Senate probe on the questioned P3.5-billion anti-dengue vaccine.
The opposition senator and member of the Senate minority bloc is of the position that there’s not enough information to warrant the filing of charges against former government officials over the Dengvaxia mess.

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