Senate Ethics Committee to Probe Sen De Lima for Telling Ronnie Dayan to Bypass House Inquiry

The Senate ethics committee announced this Monday, January 23 that it will investigate Senator Leila de Lima for telling her former driver-bodyguard and lover, Ronnie Dayan not to attend the House inquiry last October on the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) when she was still the secretary of Department of Justice (DOJ).

According to Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto, who heads the said senate committee, Sen. De Lima should respond within 15 days after receiving the committee’s resolution. Afterwards, a public hearing will be held where the Liberal Party (LP) senator and the complainants (led by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez) will be allowed to explain their arguments.

It should be noted that Hannah Mae Dayan (Ronnie’s daughter) showed to the House inquiry the exchange of text messages between her and Sen. Leila de Lima on October 1, stating that, “Huwag mo siyang pa-attend…pagkakaguluhan lang siya” and “Pakisabi sa kanya magtago siya, magtago lang muna siya.” De Lima said it was only an advice.

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Meanwhile, the Senate ethics committee voted for the dismissal of the charges against Sen. De Lima filed by an OFW named Ronillo Pulmano and lawyer Abelardo de Jesus. The complainants accused her of immorality and her alleged link to illegal drugs. According to Sen. Sotto, the said issues were supposedly committed before she became a senator.

“The complaints were dismissed because of lack of jurisdiction on the issue. We didn’t talk about the form and substance anymore because the lack of jurisdiction issue was resolved already,” Sotto said. The other members of the committee are senators Panfilo Lacson, Gregorio Honasan II, Francis Escudero, Grace Poe, Risa Hontiveros, and Manny Pacquiao.

As a response, Sen. De Lima welcomed the dismissal of these complaints. However, she said she will only comment on the upcoming investigation on her once she has received the official copy of the consolidated complaint. Aside from these controversies, the neophyte senator is also known for being a staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte.