A senior official of the House of Representatives yesterday disclosed that the chamber has four options to force Sen. Leila M. de Lima to show respect to a co-equal branch, including disbarment and an ethics complaint before the Senate.
House Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Farinas, who declared that De Lima has abused the inter-chamber courtesy accorded her, stated the four options available to the House as he declared that they will not apologize to the senator for the line of questioning raised by him and several congressmen who grilled De Lima’s former boyfriend and aide, Ronnie Dayan, in last week’s House Committee on Justice hearing.
House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez agreed with Farinas as the House leader stressed that the questions propounded on Dayan may have sounded controversial in a televised public hearing but were all relevant to the purpose of the inquiry of the Justice panel.
Farinas and several other congressmen have been heavily criticized in social media for grilling Dayan on details of his seven-year romance with De Lima, who hired Dayan as driver of her law office and later appointed him as aide when she became Justice Secretary.
“We have to know kung gaano katindi ang relationship niya kay De Lima,” explained Farinas as he pointed out its determination will give Justice committee members a clear picture of how credible Dayan is as a witness.
Farinas said the House has yet to send De Lima the show-cause order that the Justice panel approved last week but leaders of the chamber are contemplating on pursuing various courses of action that would convince the senator that the House means business.
In its hearing last Thursday, the committee chaired by Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali unanimously decided to issue a show cause order to De Lima asking her to explain why she should not be held in contempt for urging Dayan to ignore the subpoena directing him to testify before the legislative panel that has been conducting an investigation into the alleged illegal drugs trafficking operations at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
In case De Lima ignores the show cause directive, Farinas said the House options will include the filing of an ethics complaint against her before the Senate and a disbarment case before the Supreme Court for blocking legal processes such as the House-issued subpoena to Dayan.
Farinas said the House may also ask the Regional Trial Court to hold De Lima criminally liable for her advice to Dayan.
However, the House imposing its own rules in ordering De Lima’s arrest, in case of defiance to the order, may also be pursued. (Ben R. Rosario)