Belmonte hands off on Dimaporo case

Manila, Philippines -- The House leadership cannot do something about the arrest order of the Sandiganbayan Fifth Division against Lanao del Norte Rep. Abdullah Dimaporo, saying that the malversation case slapped against him is a non-bailable offense.

Speaker Feliciano ''Sonny'' Belmonte Jr. begged off from stepping in to Dimaporo's case, saying that they respect the anti-graft court's decision.

''I don't think we can do anything,'' he said.

The Sandiganbayan ordered the arrest of Dimaporo and five others in connection with the alleged malversation of P5 million in public funds.

House Majority Leader and Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali ''Boyet'' Gonzales II agreed with Belmonte, saying Dimaporo's case ''does not qualify to the constitutional requirement on lawmakers' immunity from arrest because the punishment is more than six years.''

''If his (Dimaporo) case is a non-bailable offense, the Speaker was right in saying that we can't do anything about it,'' Gonzales said.