HOUSE leaders on Thursday served the show-cause order against Sen. Leila de Lima at the Senate, in connection with her alleged attempt to prevent her former bodyguard and lover Ronnie Dayan from appearing before a congressional inquiry on illegal drugs.
Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, chairman of the House justice committee and Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas of Ilocos Norte went to the Senate secretary, Lutgardo Barbo, to deliver the document requiring de Lima to answer why she should not be cited for contempt. In last week’s House inquiry, Dayan’s daughter Hanna Mae showed congressmen a text message from de Lima asking her to tell her father not to testify before the House justice committee.
This infuriated lawmakers, who voted to summon de Lima to appear before the inquiry.
De Lima was given 72 hours to reply upon receipt of the show-cause order.
Barbo said Umali and Fariñas did the right thing in bringing to his office the show-cause order. “To make it official, meaning official cognizance that it was brought here at the Senate,” he said.
Barbo said he would deliver the show-cause order to the offices of de Lima, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel 3rd, and Sen. Vicente Sotto 3rd, head of the Senate Committee on Ethics.
“The Committee on Ethics, headed by Senator Vicente Sotto, will gather his members and find out what to do with it,” he said.
De Lima, who denies ties to drug syndicates, on Tuesday said she won’t answer the show-cause order, saying the House has no jurisdiction over her.
“I know where that inquiry will lead to. It’s a kangaroo court,” she told reporters.
Fariñas and Umali said they might file three cases against de Lima – disbarment, violation of Article 150 of the Revised Penal Code or refusing to honor a summons, and contempt.
“Under the Constitution, a member of the Senate may be punished with suspension or expulsion for disorderly behavior,” Fariñas said.
Dayan admitted to congressmen last week that he received millions from self-confessed drug kingpin Rolando “Kerwin” Espinosa Jr. on de Lima’s behalf.