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House, Senate on collision course over Leila de Lima

/ 05:31 AM November 27, 2016
Sen. Leila de Lima leaves her office and the Senate building as news crew sought her for comments on the arrest of her former driver and bodyguard Ronnie Dayan in La Union. INQUIRER PHOTO/LYN RILLON

Sen. Leila de Lima leaves her office and the Senate building as news crew sought her for comments on the arrest of her former driver and bodyguard Ronnie Dayan in La Union. INQUIRER PHOTO/LYN RILLON

The House of Representatives and the Senate are on a collision course as lawmakers in Batasan are determined to pursue contempt charges against Sen. Leila de Lima for stopping her former driver and lover, Ronnie Dayan, from attending the House committee on justice probe.

Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro assured that the House leadership would go through the proper parliamentary procedure in censuring De Lima.

“This is not a one-man affair because  proper parliamentary procedure will have to be observed, like prior collective consultation and decision. A show cause order will have to be issued and served on Senator De Lima, and she has to be heard in person if she so desires,” said Castro.

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In his testimony at the  House committee hearing on the proliferation of illegal drugs at the National Bilibid Prison last Thursday, Dayan claimed he sought the advice of De Lima when the House issued a subpoena against him to appear before the committee. He said De Lima advised him, through a Viber message to his daughter, not to appear in the hearing because the House members would just ridicule the the both of them.

2 months of hiding

Dayan had been in hiding for the last two months until he was caught in a remote village in La Union. He claimed he wanted to have attend the hearing if not for De Lima’s advice.

Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II agreed that De Lima’s actions were obstruction of justice considering she was the subject of accusations by several witnesses, including Dayan, that she received protection money from drug lords.

But  this early, her  Liberal Party allies, Senators  Francis Pangilinan, Franklin Drilon and Bam   Aquino, have made a stand that such a move to cite De Lima for contempt would violate the principles of coequality and interchamber courtesy.

Correct procedure

“The correct procedure is to bring the matter officially before the entire Senate and not directly to one senator,” the three senators said in a statement.

Castro said that senators should not be blind to the acts of their member who blatantly interfered in the House business.

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“The Senate should realize that it is the rule of the House that has been violated. The Senate should exercise prudence on what protection to extend that would not negate the authority of the House, without making itself liable to undue interference. As to actual implementation, the House may, like in other cases, enlist the assistance of the PNP (Philippine National Police)  and other law enforcing agencies in coordination with the leadership of the Senate,” said Castro.

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TAGS: Batasan, Fredenil Castro, House committee on Justice, House of Representatives, Philippine Senate, Ronnie Dayan
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