Koko to make sure Senate undistracted by De Lima-Duterte spat

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III (middle) discusses to the media how Congress will play an important role if the country decides to shift to nuclear power, during the Conference on the Prospects for Nuclear Power in the Asia-Pacific Region organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Tuesday, August 30, 2016 at the Diamond Hotel, City of Manila. “Because of the huge expenditure involved, plus the controversial nature of the decision, I believe that we need a law to be in place before we can pursue nuclearization of our energy sector,” he said. Also in photo are Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi (left) and IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy Mikhail Chudakov (right). (MNS photo)

Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III (middle) discusses to the media how Congress will play an important role if the country decides to shift to nuclear power, during the Conference on the Prospects for Nuclear Power in the Asia-Pacific Region organized by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Tuesday, August 30, 2016 at the Diamond Hotel, City of Manila. “Because of the huge expenditure involved, plus the controversial nature of the decision, I believe that we need a law to be in place before we can pursue nuclearization of our energy sector,” he said. Also in photo are Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi (left) and IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy Mikhail Chudakov (right). (MNS photo)

MANILA  (Mabuhay) – Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Tuesday denied that he was deliberately shying away from the “word war” between President Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Leila de Lima.

“Di naman ako tahimik (I am not being silent about it). I’m just respectful,” Pimentel said at the sidelines of a conference on the prospects of nuclear power held in Manila.

“I know the chairmanships have been distributed. I know that the chairman or the chairperson calls the shots with his or her committee,” he said.

De Lima is currently the chairperson of the Senate committee on justice, which has been holding hearings on the increasing number of summary killings linked to the President’s anti-illegal drugs campaign.

Because of her inquiry and her previous investigation, as head of the Commission on Human Rights, of the Davao Death Squad, the female lawmaker has earned the ire of Duterte, who recently called for her resignation.

Nevertheless, Pimentel said that he still needs to look at “what is best for the Senate.”

“Meaning, we should have a productive senate not a distracted senate,” he said. “I will talk to my fellow senators to find out if…(they) are already being affected with the word war between the senator and the president.”

Asked to comment on Duterte’s call for De Lima to resign, he said, “That’s addressed to her. Di kami makikialam du’n (We won’t meddle).” (MNS)

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