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Kerwin: De Lima got money from me

  • Written by Bernadette E. Tamayo
  • Published in Top Stories
  • Read: 432

KERWIN Espinosa identified Sen. Leila de Lima as one of the government officials who allegedly received “drug money” from him.

According to Sen. Manny Pacquiao, Espinosa had told him that he personally gave P8 million last year to De Lima when she was still justice secretary.

Espinosa supposedly gave this information to Pacquiao during their meeting at Crame Crame where he was brought after his deportation from United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Asked to comment on some reports that De Lima had become a “recipient” of drug money from Espinosa, Pacquiao said: “Tooto po ‘yan, nabanggit po niya pangalan ni De Lima.”

“At tsaka maraming kapulisan binanggit at may mga elected officials din na nabanggit niya, sa local (level),” he added in a radio interview.

Pressed whether he relayed to De Lima Espinosa’s revelation linking her to the drug trade, Pacquiao said: “Hindi. Actually, ngayon ko lang sinabi (sa public) itong statement ni Kerwin.”
   
Espinosa is set to testify today at the Senate investigation into the killing of his father, Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. as well as his involvement in the drug trade in the country.
   
Pacquiao said Espinosa wanted to verify if De Lima herself knew about the transactions and went to Baguio City to personally see the former Department of Justice secretary.
   
“Yun daw, may mga pagkakataon na nagkikita dito sa MOA (Mall of Asia) saka yung tao niya, tapos pinapunta siya doon sa Baguio... Pinapunta siya sa Baguio and then doon na-meet niya mismo si De Lima and then sinabi niya nagbigay siya doon,” said Pacquiao.
   
The senator said he learned from Kerwin that De Lima’s former driver-lover Ronnie Dayan was the one contacting the suspected drug lord. “Paano s’ya napunta sya Baguio? Dahil itong si Dayan ang kumo-contact pala sa kanya. Tapos pinapunta sya ni Dayan du’n sa Baguio,” he said.
 
According to Pacquiao, he was told by Kerwin that he gave de Lima a total of P8 million, given monthly in staggered amounts with the money supposedly aimed to provide protection for him and his family.
   
“Ang sabi sa kaniya, kung di ka mag-[bigay], magkaka-problema ka. Tapos hindi lang siya ang binanggit, kundi yung mga pulis pa na—mas marami siyang pulis na binanggit doon, local police, at kinuwento niya paano niya masigurado na secured kami,” he said.
   
“Iniinform siya in advance, sinasabi sa kaniya, ‘o, mag-checkpoint kami diyan, wag kayong dumaan diyan; dito kayo sa barangay na ito’,’O ngayon, wag kayo sa barangay na ‘yan kasi mag-checkpoint kami dyan; doon kayo sa barangay na ganiyan.’ Ang pulis ang nag-instruct sa kaniya,” he added.
   
Previously, there was a photo of De Lima with the Espinosa family at the Burnham Park in Baguio City. However, Sen. Panfilo ‘Ping’ M. Lacson, the chair of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Illegal Drugs, pointed out that it is not uncommon for politicians to have their photos taken with the public.  

With Alfred Dalizon