MANILA - The congressman leading Tuesday's House probe into the proliferation of illegal drugs in the national penitentiary during the time of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima is also her fraternity brother.
House Justice Committee Reynaldo Umali disclosed this a day before his committee starts its probe. Umali and De Lima used to be partymates in the Liberal Party.
Umali joined the ruling PDP Laban for the 17th Congress.
Umali expressed hopes that his sorority sister will not immediately judge his committee's hearing as a sham.
"I hope she doesn't think that way... let us stick to the issues," Umali said.
"Meron akong full disclosure kay Speaker. Sabi ko nga before the resolution was even referred to me, sabi ko Mr. Speaker, sis ko si Leila sa sorority. Lambda Rho Sigma siya, Lambda Rho Beta ako."
(I made a full disclosure to the Speaker that De Lima is my sorority sister. She is a member of the Lambda Rho Sigma while I'm a member of the Lambda Rho Beta.)
Lambda Rho Beta and Lambda Rho Sigma are counterpart fraternity and sorority based in the San Beda College of Law.
Umali also revealed that despite his disclosure, his committee still got the hearing.
He revealed De Lima has been invited to the probe.
"We are inviting her not as a senator, but as former secretary of justice who had control and supervision over the NBP," Umali said.
The lawmaker gave a preview of Tuesday's hearing, which will also continue the next day. Umali already expects Tuesday's hearing to be a logistical nightmare. He is skeptical that the committee will be able to accommodate all witnesses, which include high-security inmates from the National Bilibid Prison.