House show-cause order vs De Lima proper—Aguirre
The House of Representatives did the right thing in issuing the show-cause order against Senator Leila de Lima in its probe on illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said.
Congress issued the show-cause order requiring De Lima to explain why she should not be cited in contempt for ignoring the summons for her in its inquiry on the NBP drug trade and for instructing her former driver and lover Ronnie Dayan to hide and also snub the probe.
Aguirre said the issuance of the order was proper because De Lima’s action of instructing Dayan to ignore the Congressional inquiry was done in her private capacity and that the Senate need not be dragged into the issue as an institution.
“That (show cause order) should be done because (the act of preventing Dayan from testifying) was done by De Lima in her private capacity. And so the House could cite her in contempt not as a member of the Senate but as a private person interfering with the proceedings of the House,” Aguirre said.
Aguirre, who spearheaded the fact-finding probe on the NBP drug trade, stressed that the claim of De Lima that what she did was just to give an advice to Dayan and not an order is already a matter of defense.
“Well that’s her defense. It’s good that she raises her defense and stop accusing me and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez this time of concocting lies against her,” he said.
Last Tuesday, House committee on justice chairman Rep. Reynaldo Umali and Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas served a show-cause order for De Lima before the Senate.
Several congressmen and senators met last Monday night to discuss the matter and thwart possible clash between the two chambers of Congress.
It was agreed that the show-cause order would be addressed only to De Lima and not the Senate as an institution and that the House would not issue a warrant of arrest against her and just file an ethics complaint before the Senate should she defy the order.
De Lima has refused to honor the order, saying the House has no jurisdiction over her. RAM
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