Dela Rosa says he won't hold 'epal' Senate hearings
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ronald dela Rosa said on Thursday, July 4, that he will not be like other senators who hold "epal" hearings or inquiries just for show.
Dela Rosa made the statement in a news briefing, when asked for his planned hearings as the expected chairperson of the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs in the 18th Congress.
"As I've said, kung anong magiging issue na magka-crop up, then we will take action. Pero 'yung sige hearing-hearing, para mag-epal-epal lang, para pakita mo sa mga tao na hearing-hearing siya, we will not do that," Dela Rosa.
(As I've said, if there's a particular issue that will crop up, then we will take action. But to hold hearings for show, just to show people that you're holding a hearing, we will not do that.)
Dela Rosa said that he felt disrespected by a senator when he was a resource person at a Senate hearing on the Duterte administration's war on drugs. The newbie lawmaker said he would teach this senator – whom he refused to name but said was part of the 18th Congress – how to conduct oneself in a hearing.
"Papakita ko sa kanya paano dapat mag-Senate hearing (I will show the senator how to hold a Senate hearing)," Dela Rosa said.
Dela Rosa shed tears during two Senate hearings on the Duterte administration's drug war – first in 2016 when he was still the Philippine National Police chief, and again in 2017.
Both hearings tackled the Duterte administration's bloody campaign against illegal drugs, but he interacted with two different senators in those hearings, one of them Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri whom he clarified was not the senator he was referring to.
In 2016, Dela Rosa cried while he responded to the question of Zubiri, an administration ally, on how the then-top cop planned to restore public trust in the police after Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr was killed in an apparent police rubout in his jail cell.
In 2017, Dela Rosa again shed tears at a Senate hearing while responding to opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros. Hontiveros said there seemed to be a “pattern” of killings of drug suspects, citing the case of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos and 19-year-old Carl Arnaiz, among others. (READ: Kian and Carl: Parallelism in the deaths of two boys)
Dela Rosa was irked by Hontiveros' line of questioning then. He said on Thursday that he still harbored ill feelings towards the senator to this day because of that incident.
"Meron talaga hanggang ngayon. Isipin mo, porke't senador ka, gaganunin mo 'yung tao (I still feel bad until now. Just think about it, just because you're a senator, you'll do that to a person)," he said.
Dela Rosa said that as chair of the Senate panel on public order and dangerous drugs, he would be focusing on law enforcement and the problem of illegal drugs.
He also promised to "respect" resource persons invited to his committee's hearings.
"I will respect the resource persons whenever they are invited during hearings. Pero kung sakaling salbahe 'yung resource person, then we have to, dapat i-treat din as ganoon (But if the resource person is a bad person, then we will have to treat them as such)," Dela Rosa said. – Rappler.com