The Senate on Monday night ousted Senator Leila de Lima as chair of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights following a motion from Senator Manny Pacquiao to declare the chairmanship and membership of the committee vacant.
According to ABS-CBN News, sixteen (16) senators voted ‘yes’, 4 voted against (including De Lima’s co-Liberal Party members Senators Kiko Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon and Risa Hontiveros, and President Duterte’s archenemies Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV), and 2 abstained.
Being a former comissioner on human rights and secretary of the Department of Justice during the Aquino administration, De Lima was given the position after she won the election last May.
Senator Richard Gordon replaced De Lima as chair of the committee, while Senator Panfilo Lacson remains as co-chair.
Last week, De Lima got the majority’s disapproval after she presented a surprise witness, Edgar Matobato, who is a self-proclaimed former member of the Davao Death Squad (DDS). Matobato linked President Rodrigo Duterte and his son, Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte as masterminds behind extrajudicial killings in Davao City. De Lima’s co-chair Sen. Lacson expressed his dismay to the former because of not informing him about Matobato beforehand.
Pacquiao made the move ahead of Matobato’s second appearance before De Lima’s committee set this Thursday.