MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis Pangilinan reiterated his stance against the show-cause order issued by a panel from the House of Representatives to Senator Leila De Lima on Tuesday.
"[There] has to be interparliamentary courtesy and recognition that we are co-equals and therefore, as co-equals, we respect our processes. We will respect their process, they should respect our process," Pangilinan told ANC's Beyond Politics.
"What happens next? What if we retaliate? What if kami naman ang magsasabi, yung ginawa niyo kay Sen. De Lima, unparliamentary yan at contemptuous sa amin yan so iko-contempt din namin kayo. Saan tayo pupulutin noon?"
The House Justice Committee gave De Lima 72 hours to respond to the show cause order to explain why she should not be cited in contempt. It was earlier revealed that De Lima discouraged her former driver-bodyguard and alleged bagman Ronnie Dayan from attending the House hearing on the alleged illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison.
Pangilinan said he has "serious misgivings" that the House will give De Lima a fair hearing, but hopes the House will change its approach.
Pangilinan, who is the current interim president of the Liberal Party, explained how the party will deal with the issue.
"We will be clear: if there is misconduct, then there has to be a process to determine this. If there is guilt, then the guilty should be punished. That's clear," he said.
"However, the process must be fair and the process must be based on the rule of law and based on evidence. So diyan tayo ngayon. Kaya nga gusto natin magkaroon ng maayos na proseso para malaman talaga natin ano ba talaga ang pananagutan," he said.
(We want to have an orderly process so we will know what people will have to answer to.)
Pangilinan said that he and other Liberal Party senators have issued a joint statement on the show-cause order against their partymate.
"[We've] also made our position clear: That they cannot proceed against one member of the Senate without violating the principle of co-equality and the principle that we are supreme within our own jurisdiction.
"And we said, if you wish, if you have a case against De Lima, file it . . . Kami rin, kung may isyu kami sa isang congressman, hindi kami, hindi namin siya papaarestuhin o ipapatawag," he said.
(If senators have an issue with a congressman, we will not call for their arrest or order him to appear before us.)