House probe of De Lima to violate congressional courtesy—solons
Lawmakers from the so-called “legitimate” minority bloc in the House of Representatives said the move to invite Senator Leila De Lima to an investigation into the drug problem at the New Bilibid Prison violates parliamentary courtesy between the chambers of Congress.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said what Congress must do instead is to take up Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr.’s resolution to investigate the spate of extrajudicial killings of drug suspects at the height of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.
“The House of Representatives cannot call Senator De Lima to a committee hearing because we are barred by that interchamber courtesy rule,” Lagman said.
Lagman said the mere move to invite De Lima to a House probe on the drug syndicate in Bilibid when she was justice secretary “is already a transgression of interparliamentary courtesy rule.”
Northern Samar Rep. Raul Daza cited House rules which state that it would be unparliamentary to make “derogatory remarks against the Senate” and to “refer to senators by name or by way of personal criticisms.”
Daza said Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s and the majority allies’ move to probe De Lima for the proliferation of drugs in Bilibid when she was justice secretary “is a violation of the long-standing tradition of Congress, the so-called parliamentary courtesy which is based not only on fundamental but also practical reasons.”
Daza said to investigate a senator would make a “circus” of a public hearing funded by taxpayers’ money.
“What will happen to our system of government when we have two Houses of Congress feuding against each other or investigating each other?.. Then you make a circus of the whole thing, you only wasted public time, funded by public money, which is something that is inutile,” Daza said.
On Monday, deputy speakers Raneo Abu, Gwen Garcia and Sharon Garin said they opt to investigate De Lima for possible links to the illicit drug trade than look into the rising casualties of Duterte’s war on drugs.
Appropriations chair Davao city Rep. Karlo Nograles, a known Duterte ally, said the probe seeks to find out the “command responsibility” of De Lima.
“Kung titingan natin mga (If we would look at the) occurrences, these abuses happened under her watch. So command responsibility ang titingnan natin diyan (So we would look into the command responsibility). Therefore, it is but proper that we allow her and her official family in the DOJ before to also air their side on the matter,” Nograles said on Monday.
Alvarez authored House Resolution 105 which pushed for investigation into the drug problem at the national penitentiary, where makeshift “shabu” laboratories were set up and drug lords lived in luxury, while De Lima was justice secretary.
Nograles said the House may also invite De Lima’s former driver Ronnie Dayan, who Duterte alleged was De Lima’s lover who collected drug payoffs for her from the Bilibid.
The resolution for a House probe authored by Alvarez was co-authored by Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu, Rizal Rep. Michael John Duavit, Antipolo Rep. Romeo Acop, Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, minority leader Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez, Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas, Cavite Rep. Abraham Tolentino, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Doy Leachon, and Valenzuela Rep. Eric Martinez. RAM/rga
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