Senate ethics committee to hear complaint vs De Lima

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A complaint against Senator Leila De Lima has been filed before the Senate ethics committee and privileges.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, chairman of the committee, said the body would start hearing the complaint sometime next week.

“I still have to get a copy. I’ll call for an organizational meeting of the committee next week,” Sotto told Rappler in a text message.

Abelardo De Jesus, a lawyer, filed the complaint against the neophyte senator over her alleged links to drugs.

De Jesus earlier said in a radio interview that the ethics committee is the best venue for De Lima to defend herself from allegations made by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte.

“The Senate ethics committee is the proper forum para imbestigahan ang mga allegations kay (to investigate all the allegations against) De Lima. I have no personal knowledge on the allegation, I am just relying on the statement of the President,” De Jesus was quoted as saying

'Fairness'

De Lima said she hopes the committee would be fair in handling the case filed against her.

"I can only hope that there is fairness. Because everything that is happening is absolutely unfair to me," De Lima told reporters on Thursday, August 25

The senator said she would base her actions on the decision of the ethics body. After all, she said she has yet to receive a copy of the complaint.

"Let’s wait for that kung ffurnishan ako ng copy ng committee on ethics. I'd rather that the ethics committee tackle that first and then find out ano magiging action nila," De Lima said.

Asked if she'd prefer that the Senate take a stand on the supposed harassment against her, De Lima only had this to say: "I leave it up to them. I don’t wanna create discomforts within the institution. Itong nangyayari ngayon naddistract na (What's happening now is already distracting the chamber) from the more important things."

Sotto, for his part, vowed to be fair in handling the complaint.

“I will be impartial. I was elected by my peers therefore I have their trust and confidence that I will be fair to all,” Sotto said.

Duterte has accused De Lima of being the highest government official linked to the illegal drug trade. De Lima, however, has repeatedly denied the allegation, saying she is confident the truth will eventually prevail. – Rappler.com