Alvarez: De Lima ‘disrespected' the House

MANILA, Philippines – Top leaders of the House of Representatives filed two complaints against Senator Leila de Lima for barring her former security aide and alleged bagman Ronnie Dayan from testifying during the House inquiry into the New Bilibid Prison narcotics trade.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, and House justice committee chairperson Reynaldo Umali said De Lima had violated Article 150 of the Revised Penal Code in their complaints filed before the Senate ethics committee and the Department of Justice.

In a Rappler Talk interview on Tuesday, December 13, Alvarez said they also filed the complaint because De Lima disregarded longstanding tradition of inter-parliamentary courtesy, wherein both houses of Congress do not interfere with each other's affairs. 

Well kaya 3 kami ‘yung nag-file because we consider this as an offense committed against the House of Representatives as an institution (The 3 of us filed because we consider this as an offense committed against the House of Representatives),” said Alvarez.  

Kung titingnan mo, ito ay talagang pambabastos [sa House]. Talagang walang inter-parliamentary courtesy na binigay sa atin dito. Kaya nga isipin mo, kung senador ka pa at alam mo naman na miyembro ka ng Kongreso, ano, pinayuhan ang witness na sinubpoena ng institution itself para magpaliwanag, at pinayuhan mong magtago? Eh hindi nararapat 'yun,” he added. 

(If you look at it, she disrespected us. She did not give us inter-parliamentary courtesy. You’re a senator and a member of Congress, and you would advise a witness subpoenaed by the institution itself to hide? That’s not right.) 

Witnesses during the House justice panel’s probe into the NBP drug trade claimed that they gave millions of pesos in drug money to De Lima through Dayan. (READ: A can of contradictions in Ronnie Dayan's testimony)

He did not show up in the October 6 hearing despite a subpoena issued against him by the committee. After the House panel issued him an arrest warrant, Dayan was nabbed by the police on November 22 and he testified before congressmen on November 24.

During the hearing, Dayan's daughter Hannah Mae told congressmen her father wanted to attend the inquiry, but De Lima advised through text message that he should skip the House probe.

Fariñas and Umali then went to the Senate and issued a show-cause order against De Lima, giving her 72 hours to explain why she should not be cited in contempt for barring Dayan from attending the House hearing. De Lima, however, did not respond. 

De Lima is a ‘liar’

On Tuesday, the embattled senator said the two complaints filed against her by the House leaders was “nothing but an attempt to save face after the House inquiry on the Bilibid drug trade was exposed to be all of a farce.”

For Alvarez, however, De Lima is a liar and her refusal to participate in the House probe proves that. 

Halatang-halata naman na grabe magsinungaling ito. Ngayon lang ako naka-encounter ng ganitong tao. Kumbaga sa ano eh, lahat na nagsasabi ng katotohanan [pero] gusto niyang sabihin kayong lahat ang nagsisinungaling at ako lang ang nagsasabi ng katotohanan,” said Alvarez.

(It’s so obvious how much she lies. This is the first time for me to encounter a person like this. It’s like everyone is saying the truth but she wants to say that everyone else is lying and she is the only one telling the truth.)

Currently, De Lima is out of the country for speaking engagements in the United States and Germany. Senator Panfilo Lacson told De Lima she should return to the country to face the complaints lodged against her. 

Apart from the complaints filed by the House, De Lima is facing drug trafficking raps and two more ethics complaints. 

Alvarez said that should De Lima hide, it proves her guilt.

Para sa akin, kung sakali man na tumakbo siya, ‘di na siya bumalik dito, ‘yan ay nangangahulugan na talagang guilty siya. ‘Di niya kayang harapin ‘yung mga reklamo laban sa kanya. Hindi niya kayang harapan ‘yung mga accusations against her,” he said. 

(For me, if she hides and doesn’t return to the country, it means she’s really guilty. She can’t face the complaints against her. She can’t face the accusations against her.) 

De Lima already vowed to return to the country to face the pending drug charges and ethics complaints against her. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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