- Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III criticized the House of Representatives for telling the Senate what to do regarding Senator Leila de Lima
- He challenged the members of the House to do their job first before telling the Senate what to do
- He said Congress should not get too excited but must observe procedure and process
“Do your thing first before you ask us to do something.”
This was stated by Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III as he criticized the House of Representatives for telling the Senate what to do regarding Senator Leila de Lima; the subject of a show-cause order from a congressional committee investigating the drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
In stating this, Pimentel cited the Constitution and said only the Senate could punish its members, an article written by Camille Elemia on Rappler mentioned.
As regards the case of the embattled lady senator, Pimentel pointed out that while it is possible that she may be charged for indirect contempt for allegedly trying to stop her former bodyguard, Ronnie Dayan, from testifying at the House probe, this should first be heard, and most importantly, be proven in a “mini-trial” at the House.
As such, Pimentel urged the members of Congress to take it easy and not to get so “excited” to the point that it wants the Senate to immediately act on it without first probing the matter.
“Very premature. Let’s not be too excited. Let the House do what it has to do. Observe procedure, process, then give the Senate official result of the findings,” he was quoted saying.
In addition, Pimentel noted that there are other ways for the issue to reach the Senate; citing that it can be done through an ethics complaint against De Lima, who is already facing two complaints over drug charges against her.
According to the senate president, the Senate would have jurisdiction over it, as the alleged act happened during De Lima’s term as senator. However, he said, the chamber could not act on it without a case being filed.
With regards to inter-parliamentary courtesy, Pimentel said that with the series of hearings pinning the blame on De Lima and even publicizing personal details of her love life, the matter was put to question.
Meanwhile, the senator noted that any action or accusation against an incumbent senator should not serve as a reflection of the entire institution.
Furthermore, Pimentel said the inter-parliamentary courtesy is only an unspoken rule that neither the Constitution nor any law explicitly mandates this arrangement between the two chambers of Congress.
“No, there are 24 senators, we have our own lives. We have our own actions. Some probably beat a red light or crossed the platform with no pedestrian crossing. Kasalanan ba ng Senado ‘yan? Hindi,” he cited.
[Is that the Senate’s fault? No.]