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‘House probe not vs De Lima’

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez yesterday assured that the drug trafficking probe that the House Committee on Justice will pursue next week is not aimed at pinning down Sen. Leila M. de Lima for her alleged involvement in the reported drug trafficking operations at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City during her time as Justice Secretary.

Saying that the House hearings may be launched next week, Alvarez said De Lima is “not the purpose” of the probe but rather the proliferation of illegal drugs and drug trafficking operations at the NBP while she was head of the agency.

However, De Lima’s driver, Ronnie Dayan, has been tagged by the House Justice Committee chairman as the star witness in the congressional inquiry that Alvarez had sought.

Dayan has been identified by President Duterte as De Lima’s alleged lover.

Alvarez told reporters that the first public hearing will start as soon as the witnesses and resources persons have been notified and have assured their presence.

“We will focus our investigation in aid of legislation so that we would be able to come up with a particular legislation that would address that problem in order that it will not happen again. We are not prosecuting anybody here,” he stressed.

The House Committee on Justice is expected to lead the congressional inquiry although the House Committees on Public Order and Security and on Illegal Drugs may yet be tapped to join.

Earlier, House Justice Committee chairman and Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali tagged Dayan as the principal resource person whose presence in the hearing is indispensable. (Ben R. Rosario)