Gordon explains why House can’t arrest De Lima for telling Dayan to skip hearing

  • Senator explained why De Lima can’t be arrested for telling ex-driver to snub House probe
  • He said De Lima not liable for offenses below prision correcional while Congress is in session
  • He also insisted on interparliamentary courtesy, said House should complain to Senate President

MANILA, Philippines – Embattled Sen. Leila de Lima has found herself an unlikely ally in Sen. Richard “Dick” Gordon after the latter scoffed at House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s plan to issue an arrest warrant against the lady senator for instructing her former driver Ronnie Dayan to skip their congressional inquiry.

According to Gordon, the only way Alvarez’s arrest warrant against De Lima will work is if she committed a crime punishable by prision correcional.

“They can do anything that they want pero syempre to implement it, alam niyo naman e hindi ma-i-impede ang senator na mag-attend ng hearings unless ang crime niya e prision correccional [They can do anything they want, but implementing it, a senator can’t be impeded from attending hearings unless the crime is prision correccional]. Ito e [This is  a case of] obstruction of an investigation by a co-equal branch of Congress,” the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted him as saying.

Article VI, Section 11 of the Constitution states that a senator or a member of the House of Representatives shall be privileged from arrest while Congress is in session “in all offenses punishable by not more than six years imprisonment.”

Insisting on interparliamentary courtesy, Gordon also said the House’s proper recourse would have been to send their complaint to Senate President Koko Pimentel to allow the Senate to investigate and sanction De Lima on their own.

“They shouldn’t push the Senate. If they really have a problem, they can file an ethics case against Senator De Lima because it’s quite serious, it’s a breach of investigation when she told him not to face the probe, so that’s ethical,” he said.