Solon seeks De Lima expulsion from Senate
Kabalikat ng Mamamayan (Kabayan) party-list Rep. Harry Roque Jr. filed a complaint with the Senate ethics committee on Thursday seeking to expel Sen. Leila De Lima for allegedly profiting from the illegal drugs trade inside the national penitentiary when she was a justice secretary.
In his 18-page complaint-affidavit, Roque accused De Lima of conspiring with his party-mate Ron Salo, who controlled the nongovernment foundation BuCor Love Foundation Inc. through which drug money was allegedly laundered to fund the senator’s election campaign last year.
Roque has been feuding with Salo, whose expulsion from the House he has also sought.
BuCor Love was involved in spiritual and charitable work at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) and provided technical as well as vocational skills education for its inmates.
“An investigation by the Justice Committee of the House of Representatives has established her (De Lima’s) complicity as an enabler and beneficiary of illicit drug trade at the NBP while she was the Secretary of Justice, ostensibly to fund her 2016 campaign as a senator,” Roque said in his complaint.
He alleged that De Lima conspired with high-profile NBP prisoners and with Salo “in order to mask and hide their illegal activities inside the NBP maximum security compound and afford them impunity.”
Roque said that De Lima and Salo, who was chair of the board of BuCor Love, have been trying to stop him from further investigating their alleged involvement in the anomalies by trying to oust him from Congress.
BuCor Love “was in reality criminally misused and abused” by the two to hide illegal drug activities at penitentiary, he said.
De Lima had repeatedly denied the allegations, and said it was part of the Duterte administration’s efforts to discredit her for questioning his war on drugs that has left over 7,000 dead.
On Thursday, De Lima dismissed the complaint as a result of party politics involving Salo and Roque.
“My advice to him is to focus on working on meaningful legislation rather than politicking,” De Lima said of Roque. “He won’t find salvation by trying to score cheap brownie points from the President by attacking me.”
Roque cited the House of Representatives committee on justice report which tied De Lima to the narcotics trade in the NBP. The report cited testimonies from convicts who testified at a congressional inquiry that De Lima collected money from inmates to fund her senatorial campaign last year.
De Lima, he said, was “clearly guilty of gross misconduct.”
He said the former justice secretary’s admission of a romantic relationship with her former driver Ronnie Dayan also “establishes the mode through which Respondent De Lima operated her illegal financing activities.”
“It is quite chilling and frightening to think that she is holding one of the highest elective positions in government because of her illegal and immoral actions,” he said.