Senate must take a stand on House order vs De Lima—Drilon
The Senate, as an institution, should take a stand on the show-cause order issued by the House of Representatives against Senator Leila de Lima, Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon said on Tuesday.
The order served to the Senate Secretary this Tuesday gave De Lima 72 hours to explain why she should not be cited for contempt by the House for telling her former aide, Ronnie Dayan, not to testify in the House probe on illegal drugs.
“I would want that the institution, the Senate President, and the institution should tackle it, should respond to it. This is not only the issue of Senator De Lima, this is an issue of the whole Senate as an institution,” Drilon said in an interview with reporters.
“I would want it to be discussed either in a caucus or in the plenary in the Senate,” he said.
Drilon said he would not make a motion to ask the Senate to make a stand on the issue but said De Lima could refer it to the chamber for advice.
House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas and House committee on justice chair Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali on Tuesday served the show-cause order to De Lima, coursing it through the Office of the Senate Secretary.
The Lower House committee issued the order last week at the resumption of proceedings on the alleged drug trade at the national penitentiary, where De Lima’s former driver and lover Ronnie Dayan appeared for the first time.
The committee found out in the hearing that De Lima, through a text message to Dayan’s daughter, told him not to appear at the House inquiry, where she was being implicated in receiving drug money. De Lima said on Monday that it was an “advice” and that she stood by it.
The committee is also expected to file an ethics complaint against De Lima before the Senate.
Drilon agreed with De Lima’s decision not to honor the show-cause order, citing its implications.
Responding to the order, Drilon said, would mean that the Senate or the House can now summon or issue an order against their respective members.
Drilon and De Lima are part of the Liberal Party (LP). Other LP senators are Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan and Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV.
In a joint statement last week, Drilon, Pangilinan and Aquino invoked the interchamber courtesy on the issue of the show-cause order against De Lima.
“One House of Congress cannot proceed against a member of another house without violating the principles of co-equality and inter-chamber courtesy,” they said.
“The correct procedure is to bring the matter officially before the entire Senate and not directly to one senator,” they added. RAM/rga
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