Palace maintains no hand in De Lima’s ouster from Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar on Tuesday said Malacañan recognizes the independence of its co-equal branches in government relative to the decision of the members of the Senate to oust Senator Leila de Lima as Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

In his regular press briefing, Andanar maintained the executive branch of government had no hand whatsoever in the ouster move, saying that the Senate has its own political dynamics when it arrived at the decision to replace De Lima with Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon.

“Merong sariling dynamics sa loob ng Senado at lahat naman ng bumoto na maalis ang senadora ay mga senador. Wala namang miyembro doon ng Executive at ganun din sa mga nag-abstain at sa mga pumabor para kay Senador De Lima,” Andanar said.

He extended his congratulations to the new committee chairman believing that he would do an “excellent job” given his vast experience as a lawmaker and a public servant.

“Senator Dick Gordon is an illustrious fellow. He has been in the Senate…He also served as mayor of Olongapo and chairman of SBMA (Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority). He is one of the brightest leaders we have,” he stressed.

Also during the briefing, the Communications Head said that the military has gained ground in its intensified campaign against extremism and terrorism when government was able to recover Norwegian captive Kjartan Sekkingstad as well as Filipino and Indonesian hostages from the Abu Sayyaf Group.

Meanwhile, Secretary Andanar also announced that the Department of Social Welfare and Development has started to conduct stress debriefings on the victims of the recent typhoon Ferdie in Batanes.

“The DSWD is now conducting stress debriefing. Five social workers who have been trained on critical incidents have been deployed to various barangays in that province to help relieve the stress and trauma experienced by the victims of Typhoon Ferdie,” he said. PND