Senate ethics body junks complaints vs De Lima
For lack of jurisdiction, the Senate committee on ethics has rejected the three ethics cases filed against detained Senator Leila de Lima.
The committee headed by Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III unanimously approved the motion of Senate Minority Leader Fraklin Drilon to dismiss the cases filed by leaders of the House of Representatives and two charges initiated by presidential spokesman Harry Roque and lawyer Abelardo de Jesus.
The complaints against de Lima stemmed from her alleged advice to former aide and partner Ronnie Dayan to refrain from attending the House probe into her alleged involvement in the proliferation of illegal drugs at the New Bilibid Prison when she was still Justice Secretary.
In moving for the dismissal of the cases, Drilon cited the pending case in courts also lodged against de Lima and the committee’s lack of jurisdiction over the alleged violations she had committed.
Drilon’s motion was seconded by Senator Panfilo Lacson, saying de Lima did not violate any Senate rule or was not performing her duty as a senator when she supposedly gave the advice to Dayan.
“She has not violated any Senate rule nor it is related to an official act as a senator so on that note, if there’s a motion I will support to outrightly dismiss the case against de Lima as filed by the counterparts in the House,” Lacson said.
Senator Gringo Honasan also backed the dismissal of the charges against de Lima “in the spirit of humanity.”
“What else can we do to Senator De Lima…?” Honasan asked.
“So in the spirit of humanity, maybe this might possibly set a trend prospectively that will allow naman the chamber to assert its independence as the last bastion of a pluralistic democracy and start protecting its members against abuse of discretion or authority,” he added.
At one point, Sotto suggested to just “archive” and not dismiss the case, citing the possibility that the criminal case against de Lima might prosper.
In the end, the committee agreed with Drilon to dismiss the charges without prejudice to refiling them or to filing of a new complaint against de Lima. /cbb
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