Lawmakers seek to oust each other

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Kabayan party-list lawmakers Harry Roque and Ron Salo called for each other’s ouster from Congress on Monday after exchanging allegations of dishonorable behavior over Roque’s apparent inappropriate questioning of Ronnie Dayan and Salo’s pending estafa case in connection with a P3.5-billion license plate deal.

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In a statement, Kabayan’s spiritual adviser Cesar Pabuayon on Monday said the Kabayan party-list is gravely concerned with Roque’s manners during the November 24 hearing where Roque asked Dayan–who is married–if he ever took advantage of then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s frailties as a woman during their romantic relationship.

“Instead of focusing on the subjects’ alleged links to the illegal drug trade, the focus has been on the salacious details of the love affair between Dayan and de Lima. We can ignore the actuations of other lawmakers, but we cannot tolerate the same from the one who represents us,” Pabuayon added.

“Roque’s indecency has extremely affected the party-list, which prides itself of a principled advocacy for equality and respect for the dignity of people. We will recommend to the board that penalties should be meted to Roque, including his possible removal as Kabayan party-list representative,” he said.

“[Roque’s] behavior in the House of Representatives has gravely tainted the reputation of Kabayan party-list,” Salo added.

Roque, however, countered that it is Salo and Kabayan’s third nominee, Ciriaco Calalang, who are tainted because the court has already found probable cause to charge them with estafa for falsification of public documents in connection with the anomalous P3.- billion Motor Vehicle License Plate Standardization Program of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) during the Aquino administration.

He said his pending bills, which include Universal Health Care and increasing government support for the National Housing Authority, make it clear that it is Salo who does not deserve to be in Congress’ halls.

“You can look at my record here in Congress. I have stood for my party’s advocacies. What I asked Dayan during the investigation was relevant because it is Senator de Lima herself who said that it was because of the frailties of a woman that she had an affair with Dayan,” Roque added.

“If the people and my colleagues find it unethical, then I will step down from my post. But I challenge Ron Salo.
If there is anyone who should be investigated by Kabayan and booted out of the party-list, it should be Rep. Salo himself who is already facing charges in court for estafa through falsification of documents,” he said.

Roque then cited that Salo has no idea on what he is doing, considering that existing law provides that a sitting lawmaker can only be unseated in the event of death, resignation or expulsion stemming from a decision of the ethics committee.

“He was my student [in University of the Philippines law school]and it only shows that he is not a good student and he is not bright. I don’t understand why he is on a warpath when he is the one involved in the anomalous deal. He should be the one who should be ashamed,” the lawmaker, a former professor at the UP College of Law, pointed out.

“Actually, I feel ashamed that I gave him a passing grade,” Roque said.

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