Alleged drug trafficker claims he gave De Lima’s driver P8m for senatorial bid
Senator Leila De Lima received P8 million in drug money from suspected drug trafficker Roland "Kerwin" Espinosa as campaign contribution in the May senatorial race.
Espinosa, 36, claimed De Lima's former driver, bodyguard and alleged ex-lover Ronnie Dayan, received the money in several transactions from August 2015 to February 2016.
He made these claims during a hearing by the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs Wednesday.
De Lima, who was present in the proceedings, sald Espinosa's allegations was "a very nice script."
Staring intently at Espinosa, De Lima said: "I categorically, firmly and absolutely deny having know Mr. Kerwin Espinosa. I don't remember any instance or occasion of having met him.”
De Lima was seen laughing and appeared incredulous while listening to Espinosa implicating her in the drug trade.
But she declined to confront Espinosa with questions as it would be pointless to cross examine the suspected drug lord as her objectivity would be put into question.
Staring at Espinosa, De Lima said: "My final message to you is God forgive you for all your sins and may God forgive you all your lies about me and I forgive you."
Reading excerpts of his 27-page affidavit dated November 22, Espinosa said he received a call from Albuera municipal chief of police Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido on the first or second week of August 2014, informing him De Lima's security aide, Dayan, wanted to talk to him.
At that time he was in a diving activity in Anilao. Batangas.
After three hours, he received a phone call from a man who said he was De Lima's driver and bodyguard.
"He told me Ma’m Leila, she need funds for the 2016 elections. I told him I will have to think about it," Espenido told senators, reasoning people involved in illegal activities are hesitant to talk with people in government.
He called Jeffrey Diaz, alias Jaguar, a fellow drug trafficker to confirm if De Lima indeed needed help. The latter advised him to call his drug supplier, Chinese convict Peter Co at New Bilibid Prisons, who told him there is no problem in helping De Lima.
In exchange for P8 million, Espinosa said they would receive "protection" of his drug activities.
He claimed Dayan wanted P2 million every month but he negotiated for a lesser amount as the requested money per month is too high. The price was lowered to P700,000 a month but there should additional P2 million as "goodwill" money.
The first exchange of money was P2 million. He and Dayan met at a parking lot at SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City last August 2015. The second transaction happened October the same year where he gave P1.7 million to De Lima's driver.
The meeting place was in a restaurant along Macapagal Avenue in Pasay.
This is where De Lima's driver introduced himself as Ronnie Dayan.
For the third meeting, Espinosa asked Dayan if he could meet De Lima as he was already having doubts if the money was indeed reaching the senator.
Dayan agreed and scheduled a meeting between the De Lima and Espinosa in Baguio City on November 2015. After Espinosa gave P2 million to Dayan in a parking lot at Burnham Park, he and De Lima met somewhere in the park.
Espinosa, with his daughter and children, had a photo taken with De Lima. There were no exchange of words as De Lima only nodded when the shook hands after Dayan introduced him and revealed his code name as "Batman."
Dayan explained De Lima does not usually talk to a person when there are other people around.
Before they parted ways, he had a photograph taken with De Lima.
The last payment involving P2.3 million on the first week of February 2016. He and Dayan met again at a parking lot at SM Mall of Asia. Emmanuel Tupas/DMS