DOJ hears Roque's complaint vs Kabayan partymates; counter-affidavit filed

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 27 2017 05:42 PM

Congressman Harry Roque.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) held a hearing on Monday on the complaint filed by Kabayan Party-List Representative Harry Roque, Jr. against several of his colleagues in the said party-list.

The DOJ began its preliminary investigation on the case which stemmed from Roque's ouster from the group.

Though represented by his lawyer, Roque did not attend the hearing conducted by Assistant State Prosecutor Florencio Dela Cruz.

The respondents, led by Kabayan Representative Ron Salo and members of the Kabayan party-list Board of Trustees, filed a joint counter-affidavit to debunk Roque's allegations.

In his complaint for violation of his parliamentary immunity, Roque accused Salo and the other respondents of conspiracy to "illegitimately unseat him" as a legislator, allegedly restricting his rights as a member of Congress, and unlawfully maligning the free exercise of his powers as a legislator.

Roque cited a party resolution, dated January 12, 2017, which ordered his expulsion from Kabayan amid complaints on his behavior and "irrelevant, vulgar, and sexist questions" during a hearing of the House justice committee in November last year into the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) illegal drug trade.

Roque was among lawmakers who asked Ronnie Dayan questions pertaining to his seven-year relationship with his former boss and ex-lover, former Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila De Lima.

De Lima and Dayan have both been implicated in the NBP illegal drug trade and are now detained on drug trading charges pending before the Muntinlupa City Regionan Trial Court (RTC).

Roque accused the respondents of "overstepping" the exclusive authority of the House Ethics Committee to probe any allegations of misconduct by a member of the House of Representatives during sessions.

"By aiming to remove me as Kabayan party-List Representative in Congress, I would surely be prevented from attending its meetings or that of any of its committees, from expressing my opinions in the Congress or any of its Committees, and from casting my vote as a member of the House of Representatives," Roque's complaint further stated.

Apart from Salo, Roque's complaint named the following as respondents:
*Joshua Sebastian
*Victor Caguimbal
*Rex Tacda
*Pedro Parrocho
*Anthony Avelino
*Jennis Nidea
*Cesar Roy
*Adrian Tuazon
*Tito Marshall Fajardo
*Eduardo Robles
*Arnold Moralejo

The offense is punishable with imprisonment of six to 12 years.

The next hearing on the case is scheduled on April 10.