MANILA, Philippines – Top leaders of the House of Representatives filed a disobedience to summons complaint before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against Senator Leila de Lima on Tuesday, December 13.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, and House justice committee chairman Reynaldo Umali argued that De Lima violated Article 150 of the Revised Penal Code when she advised her former driver-bodyguard and ex-boyfriend Ronnie Dayan to snub the House hearing into the narcotics trade inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
Article 150 penalizes individuals who have been duly summoned to appear before Congress and its committees but ignored the order, with a penalty of one month up to 6 months in prison or a fine ranging from P200 to P1,000, or both.
The same penalties apply to any person "who shall restrain another from attending as a witness, or who shall induce disobedience to a summon or refusal to be sworn by any such body or official."
"As an incumbent Senator, former Secretary of Justice and a lawyer, advising and inducing Mr Dayan to hide and not to attend and/or appear in the House Inquiry for which he was duly summoned is tantamount to inducing disobedience to summons issued by Congress, of which she is a sitting member," said Alvarez, Fariñas, and Umali in their complaint.
In the past House hearings, witnesses claimed they gave millions of pesos in drug money to De Lima through Dayan, prompting the House justice committee to issue a subpoena against Dayan for him to appear during the hearing on October 6.
He did not show up, prompting the panel to issue an arrest warrant against him. He was nabbed by the police on November 22 and finally testified before congressmen on November 24. (READ: A can of contradictions in Ronnie Dayan's testimony)
On November 24, 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.