The House committee on justice yesterday formally served the show-cause against Senator Leila de Lima before the Office of the Senate Secretary and gave her 72 hours to respond why she should not be cited in contempt for advising her former aide not to attend the House probe into the New Bilbid Prison (NBP) drug trade.
It was House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas and Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali who personally handed the one-page copy of the order to Senate Secretary Lutzgardo “Lutz” Barbo.
Fariñas is chair of the House committee on rules while Umali is head of the justice committee. Both are staunch allies and partymates of President Rodrigo Duterte at the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino or PDP-Laban.
In his show cause order, Umali tells de Lima to explain why she should not be cited in contempt “for exerting undue influence” to Ronnie Palisoc Dayan, her former bodyguard and driver, and directing him to defy the House panel’s proceedings.
Should the senator fail or refuse to comply with the order, the committee said it would be constrained to take appropriate actions to cite her in contempt under Section 11 of the Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation of the House of Representatives.
Barbo said he would transmit the order to the Senate committee on ethics headed by Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III.
He said the ethics committee would be the one to determine whether or not the show cause order has merit.