De Lima allegedly got drug money five times, former driver-bodyguard claims
Senator Leila de Lima allegedly received money from suspected drug lord five times in 2014 as claimed by her former driver-bodyguard Ronnie Dayan during his appearance on Thursday in a congressional inquiry.
But Dayan's year of receiving money from Kerwin Espinosa was inconsistent with what the latter had testified before a Senate investigation on Wednesday.
Espinosa, son of slain Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa, claimed he gave Dayan a total of P8 million from August 2015 to early 2016.
Dayan, in his affidavit to the House of Representatives investigating the alleged proliferation of illegal drugs in the New Bilibid Prison, said he received money from Espinosa in August 2014, October 2014, and November 2014.
According to Dayan, he did not know how much Espinosa gave him and which he later gave to De Lima because the cash was placed in a paper bag.
The first four deliveries were made in a shopping mall in Pasay and the last one in Baguio City.
Dayan also denied knowing those convicted drug lords who pointed to him as De Lima's alleged bagman in collecting proceeds from illegal drug trade inside the NBP.
Like De Lima, he admitted having a "lover" relationship with the senator for seven years since 2007 when she was a private lawyer.
In an email from her spokesperson, de Lima said: “It is a shame that those I trusted fell into the trap of power, deceit, fear and intimidation that they found it necessary to lie and twist truths to save themselves.”
Some lawmakers found "inconsistencies," "far-fetched," and "spectacular" some of Dayan's testimonies, such as not knowing any drug lords who alleged he received money on behalf of De Lima and his denial of attending a party inside the maximum security compound of the national penitentiary.
Dayan claimed De Lima dismissed his service as driver-bodyguard in February 2015.
The House moved to issue a show cause order against De Lima on why she should not be held in contempt after Dayan said the senator told him not to appear before the congressional inquiry despite the invitation and summons issued to him.
Dayan's daughter appeared in the inquiry to support Dayan's claim he sought opinion from De Lima regarding the summon that her sister received while he was in hiding.
Dayan's daughter, Hannah Mae, showed her exchanges of text messages with De Lima on October 1, 2016, with the latter telling the former bodyguard to keep on hiding.
"Please tell him to hide for a while. That's because of Speaker (Panteleon) Alvarez and on the order of Digong (Duterte)," De Lima said in a text message to Hannah, adding if Dayan would appear in the House hearing, both would be placed in an embarrassing situation.
Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, chairperson of the House justice committee hearing the alleged drug trade inside the NBP, said De Lima's telling of Dayan not to appear in congressional hearing was "really violative."
"While we ought to observe courtesy, we expect the same from a member of co-equal body," he said, noting De Lima kept on snubbing the invitation of his committee to appear in the inquiry.
"The continuing snub of Senator De Lima to my appreciation is I think is affront to co-equal chamber, which is the House of Representatives," he added. Celerina Duterte/DMS