MANILA, Philippines — A member of the House of Representatives challenged Senator Leila de Lima to resign or for the Senate to remove her if she does not do so for allegedly ordering her former driver and bodyguard Ronnie Dayan to honor the chamber’s subpoena to appear before its probe into the Bilibid drug trade.
Kabayan Representative Harry Roque issued the call during Thursday’s hearing of the House justice committee after Dayan disclosed that De Lima had ordered him, in text messages with his daughter, to go into hiding and not attend the inquiry because “they will feast on us” in proceedings she claimed were orchestrated by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and President Rodrigo Duterte.
The inquiry into the drug trade in the national penitentiary was initiated soon after Duterte publicly accused De Lima of receiving millions of pesos from convicted drug lords to fund her election campaign. He also exposed De Lima’s affair with Dayan, repeatedly attacking her morals and claiming he was in possession of a supposed “sex video” of the two.
Reacting to Dayan’s disclosure about De Lima’s order to go into hiding, Roque acknowledged that, while the House may have the power to cite the senator in contempt, “we probably will not do so out of inter-parliamentary courtesy.”
However, he hoped “our colleagues in the Senate realize the seriousness” of “a sitting senator preventing an appearance in a legislative investigation as part of concealing the truth.”
Roque then called “for De Lima to voluntarily resign from her post” or, in the event she does not, that her colleagues in the Senate “will protect the integrity of the Congress of the Philippines … and remove her.”