Senator Teofisto “TG” Guingona III’s Opening Statement – Blue Ribbon Committee Hearing on Sex-For-Flight Scandal

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

We are here today because of serious allegations made against various employees and persons connected with Philippine embassies in certain countries. The complaints are increasing and we will be violating our duties if we ignore them. Many Filipinos who leave the country find embassies as places of comfort. A safe haven. A bit of home in a foreign land. Recent reports of sexual abuses and harassment have casted a cloud of fear of these so-called safe havens. The Blue Ribbon Committee and the Senate, as a whole, are not courts of law. We may not have to power to decide the parties' guilt or innocence but this will not prevent us from shining a very bright light on this issue. As lawmakers, we are here to discover if our laws and policies are being implemented properly and if we need to improve them in very specific ways. The Blue Ribbon Committee is a crucible that will expose the truth and discard the lies. During this process, we may, incidentally, uncover important information that can be useful to the court and to the general public. To the complainants, you have made very serious accusations against public officers of the Republic of the Philippines and your statements can only rise or fall on their own merits. What we already know from media and popular opinion will not matter because, in the end, only the truth can withstand our scrutiny. To the accused, you deserve a chance to defend yourselves and explain your perspective. It might feel that the public has already prejudged you but only a court of law can truly hold you accountable and impose punishment. If these accusations are true, then you have this great betrayal must be punished... these shameful acts must be corrected. If these accusations are true, you will be judged and punished as you deserve in time. But today, we are here to ensure that Filipinos are respected and safe no matter where they are in the world. We keep saying that our OFWs are heroes. Well, even heroes need a little help sometimes. This is our task today.