MANILA – Senator Manny Pacquiao revealed on Tuesday that suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa told him that the latter gave a total of PHP8 million to then Justice Secretary and now Senator Leila de Lima.
”He (Espinosa) mentioned that PHP8 million in total has been given to De Lima,” Pacquiao said in an interview with cable ANC television.
Pacquiao said he talked with Espinosa for an hour after the son of slain Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolanda Espinosa was brought back to the country from Abu Dhabi last week.
He said Espinosa told him that the latter was asked by De Lima’s bodyguard and driver Ronnie Dayan to go to Baguio City where Espinosa gave the money to De Lima.
Contrary to whistleblower Sandra Cam’s claim that Espinosa will name more than one senator, Pacquiao said Espinosa mentioned only De Lima as the senator in the drug list that Espinosa will reveal on Wednesday’s Senate probe on the killing of Mayor Espinosa.
When asked for comment, De Lima denied that she met Espinosa, saying, “I have not received a single centavo from those so-called drug lords.”
”It’s not true. I did not meet him. First, I don’t know him. So why I will instruct that I will meet him and talk to him to ask for money that in the first place, I don’t know him,” De Lima said.
De Lima also defended Dayan, expressing doubts whether the name of her former bodyguard and driver was mentioned by Espinosa’s slain father, Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa.
”Oh my goodness, gracious. So they are linking Ronnie again. I have not seen it, but you can look at the supposed affidavit of Mayor Espinosa, did they mention Ronnie Dayan before? It’s only now that that they link his name,” De Lima said.
She said Dayan is being linked again “because they want to pin down me.”
De Lima earlier admitted that she had an affair with Dayan, an admission that is expected to boost a disbarment case filed against her by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC).
Dayan was reportedly arrested on Tuesday in La Union. Jelly Musico/PNA-northboundasia.com