MANILA - Senator Leila de Lima will not appear in this week's congressional inquiry, wherein several convicts are expected to testify on her alleged links to the illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison when she was still justice chief.
"With or without an invitation, I will not attend that hearing," said De Lima. "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."
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier said that De Lima cannot be compelled to attend the inquiry, in honor of inter-parliamentary courtesy, a tradition of both houses of Congress not meddling into their respective affairs. But Alvarez emphasized that the House investigation will push through with or without De Lima.
According to Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, a high-ranking government official will also speak up against De Lima in addition to other witnesses, which include convicted drug lord and robbery gang leader Herbert Colangco.
The official, who was not identified, will testify that they delivered at least P5 million per visit to De Lima's house in Paranaque, added Aguirre.
(READ: Aguirre: Govt has no 'ex-deal' with witnesses vs de Lima)
"Ito po ay tinanggap nang personal mismo ni Sec. De Lima at nang ito ay ideliver nang umagang-umaga, naka-duster pa yata siya at nandoon si Ronnie Dayan sa bahay [It was personally received by Sec. De Lima and when it was delivered in the morning, she was wearing a duster and Ronnie Dayan was there]," he said.
Dayan is De Lima's former driver and alleged lover according to President Rodrigo Duterte, who also accused him of collecting money from drug lords at the national penitentiary.
De Lima is leading a Senate investigation into the hundreds of deaths in President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs.
Last week, she presented as witness Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed hitman who accused Duterte of ordering the killings of suspected criminals and political opponents in Davao City during his term as mayor.