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House panel threatens Dayan with contempt

The House Committee on Justice yesterday ordered Ronnie Dayan, alleged lover and former driver of Sen. Leila M. de Lima, to explain in 24 hours why he should not be cited for contempt and arrested in order to ensure his presence on Monday’s hearing.

This was gathered after the panel decided to withdraw an earlier decision to cite Dayan in contempt for his failure to appear during Thursday’s resumption of the congressional hearing on alleged rampant illegal drugs trade at the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City during De Lima’s term as Justice Secretary.

The panel chaired by Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali had agreed to have Dayan arrested for contempt but decided to forego the decision after House Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas pointed out that last Thursday’s hearing was the first occasion that De Lima’s driver failed to show up.

Lawyer Narcisa Guevarra, committee secretary, said the show cause order gives Dayan 24 hours to explain his absence.

She added that a motion to declare him in contempt may be acted upon by the committee if Dayan again fails to respect the directive and will refuse to appear in the next scheduled hearing.

Guevarra also admitted that the committee has invited officials of the Anti-Money Laundering Council to the October 6 hearing. (Ben R. Rosario)