House, Senate on collision course over Leila de Lima
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.
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.
“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.
“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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