“A serial liar.”
This is how Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez described Senator Leila de Lima, who continued to deny allegations of accepting money from the drug trade.
Alvarez made the statement after hearing the testimony of alleged drug lord Kerwin Espinosa in the Senate hearing on the death of his father, Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa.
In his testimony, Kerwin said he gave payola to De Lima totaling P8 million, which came from drug peddling.
“So far ma’am nakikita naman siguro ng publiko yun na halos consistent yung mga testimonies nung mga inimbitahan nating witnesses. At bilib nga din ako kay Sen. De Lima. Talagang magaling siyang magsinungaling. I think she is really a serial liar,” Alvarez said in an interview.
Alvarez noted that while there were conflicting testimonies of witnesses in the investigation of the House Committee on Justice on the illegal drug trade in the National Bilibid Prisons (NBP), they have a common thread pointing to involvement of De Lima.
“Kasi lahat na ng tao nagsasabi na may kaugnayan siya, nagdeliver ng pera sa kanya, tapos ngayon sasabihin niya, deni-deny pa rin niya — pambihira,” Alvarez added.
The House committee on justice yesterday reopened its inquiry on the drug operations inside the NBP.
According to Alvarez, the testimony of Kerwin before the Senate and the initial statements of De Lima’s ex-driver, bodyguard and lover Ronnie Dayan, corroborate each other.
The House Speaker said he expects that the testimony Dayan will give to the justice panel will tie the loose ends in the testimonies of previous witnesses and establish the fact of De Lima’s involvement in the illegal drug trade in the NBP.
Dayan has admitted delivering drug money to De Lima.
Dayan was arrested by police authorities on the strength of a warrant issued against him by the House of Representatives after failing to attend the Justice Committee NBP probe despite summons. He was turned over to the custody of the House last night.
Amid the denials by the senator, Alvarez is confident that the public is intelligent enough to discern who is telling the truth or lying.
De Lima lashes back
For calling her a serial liar, De Lima hit back at House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, branding him narrow-minded, rude and disrespectful.
De Lima said that with Alvarez’s statement, he did not only show how narrow his mind was but it also proved that the Speaker had prejudged her.
“Ipinapakita lang ng pahayag na ito kung gaano kakitid ang pag-iisip ni House Speaker Alvarez. Pinapatibay din nito kung paanong nahusgahan na ako ng naturingang pinuno ng Kamara de Representantes, bago pa man ang sinasabing ‘in aid of legislation’ kuno na pagdinig sa diumano’y paglaganap ng ilegal na droga sa Bilibid,” De Lima said in a statement.
She was referring to the ongoing House investigation into the alleged proliferation of illegal drugs at the New Bilibid Prisons on her watch as Justice Secretary.
De Lima noted that it was also Alvarez who wanted her alleged sex scandal video shown during the House probe.
“Kung ganito po kabastos mag-isip si Ginoong Alvarez, hindi na talaga ako magtataka sa iba pang pambababoy at paninirang-puri na ibabato niya laban sa akin,” she said.