'Observe process:' Senators oppose congressman's call for De Lima resignation

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Senate President and several Senators spoke up against the call of a congressman for the Senate to remove Senator Leila De Lima from her post if she refuses to resign.

Kabayan Party-List Rep. Harry Roque urged De Lima on Thursday to resign to "maintain the integrity of the Senate." This comes after she allegedly told her former bodyguard and lover to skip the House probe on the proliferation of drugs inside the national penitentiary.

Senate President Koko Pimentel said Congress should first determine the facts and observe the proper procedure before telling the Senate what to do.

"Kung sila nga eh hindi pa nakapag- [If they haven't conducted a] mini trial about it then how come they want the Senate to already act as if there's already a final determination of the actual facts? Let us not be too excited. Let the House do what they have to do. Observe process," the Senator said.

Several Liberal Party Senators are also speaking up to back their fellow Senator.

Senators Franklin Drilon, Bam Aquino, and Kiko Pangilinan's message to the House was clear: Respect begets respect.

"The correct procedure is to bring the matter officially before the entire Senate and not directly to one Senator," they said in a joint statement.

'Proper decorum'

Drilon, Aquino, and Pangilinan also slammed the manner the solons conducted the hearing.

"The conduct of some members of the House Committee on Justice was unparliamentary. The disrespectful and condescending line of questioning - which at one point seemed to justify an act of domestic violence — has no place in the halls of Congress.

House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas asked Dayan how strong their love for each other was, with Dayan answering his relationship with his former employer was at "Intensity 5" but weakened to "Signal No. 1."

Rep. Salvador Belaro Jr. of 1-Ang Edukasyon asked Dayan, "Palakas nang palakas hanggang Intensity 5. Kailan kayo nag-climax? Intensity 5, anong year?"

[Translation: Your love kept getting stronger until Intensity 5. When did you climax? Intensity 5, what year?]

Deputy Majority Leader Fredenil Castro also asked if their love was "wagas, dalisay, at matatag (true, pure, and strong)."

At one point in the probe, House Committee Chair Rep. Reynaldo Umali asked that proper decorum be observed.

More Senators show support

The women Senators are also condemning the way the probe was conducted, saying it was meant to humiliate De Lima.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros called it the "lowest of the low."

"It was not an investigation in aid of legislation. It was a public lynching in aid of misogyny and sexism," she said.

She added the motive was clear that it was and meant to humiliate De Lima for her association with Dayan. In her statement, Hontiveros described some committee members as "unparliamentary"  because their derogatory line of questioning did not aim to shed light on the issue of the drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison.

Another woman legislator, Sen. Grace Poe expressed disappointment in Thursday's House inquiry. She said a lot of the questions were geared towards voyeurism - national voyeurism as opposed to "in aid of legislation."  She said it was upsetting because the details of certain personal affairs should not have been discussed.

Solons: De Lima may be arrested

Ronnie Dayan and his daughter revealed that De Lima told him to skip the hearing and go into hiding to avoid being ridiculed in the so-called scheme orchestrated by Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte himself.

The House of Representatives will be issuing a show-cause order on De Lima to explain why she should not be cited for contempt in supposedly hampering the illegal drug probe. If she ignores it, Umali said they may issue an arrest order against her.

Lawmakers took De Lima's supposed order to Dayan as an offense to the House.

"Medyo [Sort of] bordering on obstruction of justice and contempt of  House of Representatives for interfering in the proceedings," Fariñas said.

House Committee on Justice decided to ask De Lima to explain her side on the issue. But if she ignores the show-cause order, committee Chairman Rey Umali said she may suffer the same fate as Dayan.

"Well, nagpaissue kami ng [We issued a] warrant of arrest. We may be forced to do the same," he said.

CNN Philippines correspondents Cecille Lardizabal and Joyce Ilas, digital producer Lara Tan contributed to this report.