- Sen. Leila de Lima called the House hearing on alleged drug trade inside the Bilibid a “sham”
- The Senator said she will not be attending the hearing nor will she be sending a representative
- Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said the hearing will go on even if de Lima will not attend
Senator Leila de Lima reiterated that she will not be attending the hearing of the House of Representatives on the alleged drug trade that has proliferated inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
Calling the hearing a “sham,” de Lima said she will not be sending a representative either, noting that it would be a mere demolition job against her.
“With or without an invitation, I will not attend that hearing. I will not even send any representative, lawyer or even an observer. I’m not at all recognizing that proceedings. It is a sham inquiry with no objective other than to demolish or destroy me, upon orders of the president.” de Lima said in a statement that was previously quoted by ABS-CBN News.
Earlier, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez who is a party mate and close ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, filed House Resolution 105 seeking to investigate the operations of drug syndicates in the national penitentiary based on Duterte’s allegations that de Lima was involved in the drug trade in the Bilibid during her stint as Secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The President had presented a matrix of those involved in the drug trade, naming de Lima as the highest ranking official involved.
The hearing had already been scheduled by the House Committee on Justice.
However, Alvarez emphasized that the Senator cannot be compelled to appear in the hearing, due to the tradition of inter-parliamentary courtesy that guarantees that both houses of Congress would not meddle in each other’s affairs.
But even if de Lima will not attend the hearing, it will still go on as planned, the Speaker added.