PRESIDENT Duterte’s revelation on Senator Leila M. de Lima and her alleged driver-lover is not new after all and actually has been a hot topic in the gossip mills over the past few years when she was still the Aquino administration’s justice secretary.
The national media, the Journal Group learned, had reported before the alleged romantic links of one Ronnie Dayan to De Lima citing allegations by known jueteng whistleblower Sandra Cam when she opposed her confirmation as DoJ chief by the powerful Commission on Appointments.
Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ de la Rosa said on Wednesday that they would be looking into the activities of Sen. de Lima’s driver whom President Duterte accused of collecting money for the campaign of De Lima.
However, Gen. de la Rosa said unless the President orders them to launch a formal investigation, they would not meddle in the personal affairs of the senator whom they will be facing on August 22 and 23 at the Senate inquiry into drug-related killings.
On August 18, 2014, The Sunday Punch, a popular Pangasinan newspaper, said in a report on an incident involving Dayan: “Being an employee of the secretary of justice must have its privileges.”
It came out with the story after finding out that Dayan, reportedly a driver-bodyguard of then Justice Secretary de Lima, was not charged after he allegedly punched a policeman and threatened to kill a village watchman in Barangay Dalanguiring in Urbiztondo, Pangasinan.
The reason: police failed to find witnesses against Dayan who was accused of firing his gun indiscriminately and punching a policeman named Ariel Hardinoza of the Alcala Municipal Police Station. Reports said that the punching incident was settled amicably.
Then Urbiztondo police commander Chief Inspector Wilfredo Cabanayan was quoted as saying that the complaint against Dayan lacked substance and they could not establish enough probable cause against him due to missing witnesses.
Cabanayan reportedly said they had advised complainants Rolando Calugay and his mother Percilita to return with more evidence and witnesses against Dayan but failed to show up eventually. Police said then that witnesses against Dayan were hesitant to testify against the driver for fear of their lives.
The case stemmed from a complaint that Dayan threatened to kill Calugay in front of his mother. Police then recovered spent cartridges from a caliber .45 pistol allegedly used by Dayan in shooting indiscriminately while making the threat against Calugay. The recovered casings were reportedly submitted for cross-matching at the local Crime Laboratory of the Philippine National Police.
Reports said that the incident took place while all permits to carry for firearms outside of residence in Pangasinan were still suspended.
The Liberal Party (LP) has called on the Senate leadership to uphold independence in the conduct of legislative hearings, including the current probe into extrajudicial killings.
The LP made the statement following the tirade of President Rodrigo Duterte against Senator Leila de Lima, a member of the party.
The party urged other senators to support De Lima, who only wants to get to the truth in the deaths of drug suspects.
“She deserves support, not condemnation; respect, and not gutter language; she and our people deserve the facts, not innuendo,” the LP statement read.
“The LP stands for free and open debate, for due process of law, and respect and civility in public discourse. Senator Leila de Lima is doing her job as a senator of the Republic,” it added.
“Legitimate” minority group leader Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr., an LP member, dared the administration to file charges against De Lima if they have strong evidence on her alleged involvement in illegal drugs.