Sen. Grace Poe is a member of the ethics panel which will handle the probe on the complaints filed against De Lima, including the alleged obstruction in the House inquiry into the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP)
On Dec 20 Wednesday Sen. Grace Poe assured Sen. Leila De Lima of a fair probe by the Senate ethics committee, provided the senator would explain why the illegal drug problem apparently flourished during her term as secretary of justice.
She said the rift between De Lima and President Duterte should not always be blamed on politics and the senator must explain why she was being tagged in the NBP illegal drug trade.
“Sen. De Lima was justice secretary in the past administration when all these things flourished in the Bilibid and anywhere else”, she said.
She said it’s proper for De Lima to answer the allegations against her.
Like De Lima, Poe did not sign a Senate committee report clearing the administration from any involvement in extrajudicial killings.
Poe said she empathizes with the former justice chief, especially with Duterte and many other individuals accusing De Lima of receiving drug money.
“But she cannot just ‘brush off’ the allegations. She must explain herself,” she said.
Among those who accused De Lima of accepting money were NBP convicts, drug lord Kerwin Espinosa and her former lover and driver Ronnie Dayan.
Aside from criminal charges, De Lima is facing an ethics complaint for allegedly advising Dayan to snub the House inquiry.
De Lima may face penalties ranging from reprimand to expulsion should the panel find merit in the complaint.
Poe said the coming proceedings in the ethics committee, chaired by Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, might be difficult and that De Lima is aware that all public officials are accountable to the people.
“But I will be very fair, look at the merits of the case and if it really has something to do with what she has done as a senator,” Poe said.