House Justice panel issues show cause order to De Lima

MANILA — The House of Representatives Justice committee issued on Thursday a show cause order to Sen. Leila de Lima, requiring her to explain why she should not be held in contempt for allegedly preventing her former driver-bodyguard Ronnie Dayan from testifying before the congressional probe.

During the reopening of the House inquiry on the illegal drugs trade at the New Bilibid Prison, Justice committee Chair Reynaldo Umali approved the motion of ABS Partylist Rep. Eugene Michael De Vera to have De Lima explain why she should not be cited in contempt for obstruction of justice.

Despite interparliamentary courtesy, the committee agreed to issue a show cause order against De Lima, who allegedly barred Dayan from appearing at the congressional inquiry despite the issuance of a subpoena against him last October.

”The continuing snub of Senator De Lima, to my appreciation now, is also an affront to a co-equal chamber,” Umali said.

Dayan, who was arrested by the police in La Union on Tuesday, said in his testimony that he instructed his daughter, Hannah Mae, to send a text message to De Lima, informing her about his plan to attend the said inquiry because the lady senator has stopped communicating to him.

Dayan told the committee that De Lima responded to his daughter, instructing him to snub the hearings and go into hiding since both of them would be made a laughingstock and be further subjected to humiliation at the House inquiry.

To recall, the Justice committee issued a subpoena against Dayan compelling him to attend the House hearing on Oct. 6, but he did not show up.

Dayan was then cited in contempt by the Lower Chamber last Oct. 10 for failure to appear before the hearings on the drugs proliferation in the NBP.

Aside from contempt, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said De Lima would also be liable for concubinage for her illicit affair with Dayan, a married man.

”As a matter of fact, the mere admission of Senator De Lima, or Atty. De Lima, of her dalliance with a married man is already, well constitutes immorality and the Supreme Court is unerring in punishing this kind of immorality with disbarment,” Aguirre said.

De Lima previously admitted having had an affair with Dayan before he resigned as her driver-bodyguard but stressed that this was not proof of her culpability in the illegal drug trade.

Similarly, Dayan confirmed his relationship with De Lima which lasted for seven years, but he ended it in 2014. Filane Cervantes/