“Senator Leila de Lima should resign.”
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said that De Lima’s admission of her romantic links with her bodyguard-driver validates President Rodrigo Duterte’s accusations that “she committed unlawful and immoral acts and opens her up to a criminal offense of adultery since her lover is a married man.”
Moreover, Panelo said the admission further “strengthens the case filed against De Lima of her involvement in the illegal drug trade inside the state penitentiary such that expulsion proceedings should be started in the Senate by the Senate Ethics Committee for immorality and grave misconduct in office.”
Panelo also said that De Lima should save herself from further embarrassment by having her walking paper even as she is to be blamed for her predicament and sorry situation.
De Lima said her falling in love with Dayan was part of her “frailties as a woman.”
“We became so close. That’s it. I trusted him. Siyempre, naano po ang loob ko,” she said.
De Lima said her relationship with Dayan lasted for a “few years” and that the latter had long been separated from his wife. She said she broke up with him before she ran for senator.
For his part, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, said that De Lima’s admission further pins her down.
Aguirre said De Lima’s admission on GMA News TV’s “Bawal ang Pasaway with Mareng Winnie” on Monday night could even be presented as evidence once the cases filed against her reach the court.
“Definitely magagamit na evidence yan. As a matter of fact, I instructed the NBI to get a copy of the footage of that interview already para magamit as evidence,” Aguirre said when sought for comment on the issue.
Aguirre said De Lima’s admission disproved her repeated statements that he is manufacturing evidence against her to malign her reputation and pin her down on the criminal charges filed in connection with her alleged involvement in the illegal drugs trade at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
He added that this also corroborated the testimony of several witnesses they presented in the House inquiry on the proliferation of illegal drugs at the national penitentiary that De Lima has a romantic relationship with Ronnie Dayan.
“It proves na hindi manufactured ang sinabi nating relasyon nila katulad ng pinaratang n’ya sa akin. Na-corroborate rin nito ang statement ng witnesses at na-establish ang link kay Dayan,” Aguirre said.
A Pangasinan native, Dayan has a P1-million bounty on his head put up by anti-crime advocates and concerned citizens.
Dayan is accused of receiving drug money from gang leaders inside the New Bilibid Prison reportedly for the campaign kitty of De Lima, a former justice secretary, in the 2016 senatorial elections.
Aguirre added that De Lima could no longer use her usual defense that the government fabricated lies about her personal life.
Dayan has been tagged by several witnesses in an inquiry by the House of Representatives as the go-between for the former justice secretary and inmates involved in the drug trade in the national penitentiary.
The senator’s former security aide allegedly picked up drug money from gang leaders inside the NBP on her behalf and used it to fund her senatorial campaign.
She has denied the allegations, which were mentioned in the four drug trafficking complaints against her before the DoJ.
De Lima and Dayan’s special relationship was also revealed during the inquiry by her former security aide, Joenel Sanchez, who said the two shared a room during out-of-town trips and exchanged sweet nothings through text messages.
The Presidential Security Group member, who served as De Lima’s close-in security from July 2010 to May 2015, also disclosed the existence of two private videos, one of them featuring the former justice secretary and Dayan.
De Lima’s critics then seized the opportunity to ask the Supreme Court to strip her license as lawyer.
A disbarment complaint filed last month against the senator accused her of gross immorality when she entered into a romantic affair with Dayan.