SENATOR Leila de Lima's admission of her romantic links with her former driver and bodyguard Ronnie Dayan has proved him right, President Rodrigo Duterte said.
De Lima’s confession only meant that he “made an accusation which was all along very true,” Duterte said.
Even before De Lima’s revelation, Duterte had alleged that she had carried on an affair with Dayan, adding the driver had served as her liaison to drug lords inside the New Bilibid Prisons.
Duterte however lamented that De Lima’s admission of her affair with Dayan was not enough to pin De Lima down, saying Dayan is needed to prove the charges against the senator.
“He cannot answer for himself, he’s not around. Bakit nawala siya? I hope he'll still be alive. He’s still a vital witness,” Duterte said.
For his part Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said that De Lima is in trouble especially if her lover would come out and testify against her.
“Kung lumabas si security/driver at mag-testify against her, tapos na ang boksing,” Panelo said.
Panelo also said that De Lima’s may cost her post as a senator.
“In the Senate the Ethics Committee could now subject her to disciplinary proceedings which could merit her either suspension or expulsion from the Senate, … too, she opened herself to disbarment proceedings for an unethical conduct and medyo mabigat iyon, kawawa naman in that sense. But -- well, she created her own problem by involving herself in that man,” Panelo said.
Dayan has remained missing despite repeated summons from the House of Representatives justice and human rights committee, which conducted a probe into the alleged proliferation of the drug trade in the NBP.
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption earlier pooled together a P1 million bounty for information leading to Dayan’s capture.
Still no sign of Ronnie Dayan.
This was according to the law enforcement agencies tasked to locate and even arrest Dayan, the controversial alleged bagman of Senator De Lima.
At yesterday’s public hearing of the House justice subcommittee on correctional reforms, the House Sgt-At-Arms Office said they have not yet received any report on the whereabouts of Dayan from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
The House of Representatives issued an arrest warrant against Dayan after he refused to appear in the panel’s inquiry on the reported proliferation of illegal drugs inside the NBP during the time of De Lima as secretary of justice.
Most of the witnesses presented in the previous hearing pointed to Dayan as the one accepting payola from the drug lords inside the NBP. The money collected was used by De Lima allegedly for her senatorial bid in last year’s national elections.
Appearing at the hearing, PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Director Benjamin Magalong said the police continue to track down Dayan in Urbiztondo, Pangasinan and nearby provinces.
According to MAgalong, the tracker teams formed still failed to locate Dayan, who was reportedly De Lima’s former bodyguard and lover.
“The latest update is that our tracker teams continue to scour Pangasinan and other provinces. We haven’t received any significant information as of this date,” Magalong said.
On the part of the NBI, spokesperson Ferdinand Lavin said the bureau had good leads about Dayan’s whereabouts but refused to give details so as not to preempt the operations.
Lavin also said there are civilian agents helping them but they should not be named in public so that their identity will not be jeopardized.
“We created teams locating Mr. Dayan. We sent them to Northern Luzon but we don’t want to compromise our agents providing us details,” Lavin said.
“I believe Ronnie Dayan is watching us,” he added.
Aside from the PNP and NBI, the House Sgt at Arms also tapped the assistance of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) to look for Dayan.
Dayan was ordered to be arrested for contempt, since he snubbed the invitation of the House panel.