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Bato vows to grill ‘professional liar’

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Ronald dela Rosa is set to grill this week former Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agent Jonathan Morales, who President Marcos described as a “professional liar” and likened to a “jukebox.”

“Let’s ask him (Morales) that… Let’s ask if someone paid him,” said Dela Rosa, who chairs the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs.

Marcos compared Morales – who linked the President to illegal drugs – to a jukebox that plays whatever song desired in exchange for money.

Some congressmen criticized Dela Rosa for his committee’s continued hearing on “PDEA Leaks,” set to continue today, even though no solid evidence was presented and some personalities who appeared were questionable.

“There is no problem with the criticisms. That’s why we hold a hearing to listen to all the sides that are relevant to this issue. Let’s listen to all the sides and just because we listen does not mean that we also believe in what he says,” Dela Rosa added.

Some senators also expressed concern that Dela Rosa’s committee could be losing focus, as it was originally meant to look into document leaks, with the names of the President and a veteran actress implicated in the controversy. Morales maintained he was telling the truth.

In investigating the alleged document leaks, Dela Rosa said Filipinos need to know what really transpired and the true story behind the alleged PDEA leaked information.

“We do not owe to the Filipino people a hearing that sidelines as a circus or as a variety show, we owe them instead a process marked by integrity, respect for due process, and a commitment to justice,” Dela Rosa said. “Let us proceed with a shared sense of urgency understanding that the conduct of these investigations as well as the outcome will impact our institutions’ credibility and our citizens’ safety for generations to come.”

While some quarters questioned Morales’ credibility, Dela Rosa said he could not just ignore the allegations of the former PDEA agent.

The senator is eyeing heavier penalties for individuals who will leak government classified documents, either by crafting a new law or amending existing laws.