The Department of Justice yesterday filed a criminal case before the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court against Sen. Leila M. de Lima for advising her former lover and aide Ronnie Dayan to snub the House Committee on Justice investigation on the proliferation of illegal drugs at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
Assistant State Prosecutor Vilma Lopez-Sarmiento indicted De Lima for violation of Article 150 (disobedience to summons of national assembly) of the Revised Penal Code.
“Respondent’s (De Lima’s) advice to Mr. Dayan through his daughter to hide and not to appear in the House inquiry constitutes an act amounting to restraining another to attend as a witness in the national assembly (now Congress of the Philippines) and inducing disobedience to a summon,” the DoJ said in a resolution.
The case was filed as a result of the complaint filed by House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, and House Committee on Justice Chairman Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali with the DoJ last week.
Based on the Revised Penal Code, De Lima, if found guilty, may be slapped with fine and or prison term of one to six months.
The DoJ recommended no bail in its charge sheet.
“We did not conduct any preliminary investigation because under the Rules on Summary Procedure, if the imposable penalty is less than six months, we can file it directly (in court) and, in fact, there are cases in which the imposable penalty is four years, two months, and one day that the investigating prosecutor need not conduct any preliminary investigation,” Officer-in-Charge Prosecutor General Jorge Catalan Jr. said.
Dayan was arrested by the police in La Union on November 22 that forced him to appear before the House panel.
During the probe, Dayan denied collecting drug money from high profile inmates. However, Dayan admitted receiving around P8 million from drug distributor Kerwin Espinosa to supposedly finance De Lima’s senatorial bid.
(Chito A. Chavez)