De Lima says colleagues citing Dayan in contempt is ‘unfair’

MANILA — Although she did not make any objection to a Senate panel citing Ronnie Dayan in contempt, Senator Leila de Lima on Tuesday said that she found the ruling on her former security aide and alleged drug money bagman “unfair.”

“…That is so unfair. But I deliberately did not make any objection kasi (because) at the back of my mind, ang parang nakikita ko (what I see is that), they will again make an issue out of that—I’m allegedly being overprotective of Ronnie Dayan,” the neophyte senator said.

On Monday’s Senate hearing, Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon cited ‘irreconcilable inconsistencies’ between the testimonies of Dayan and self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, particularly on dates and how the exchange was facilitated.

One of these inconsistencies is Dayan claiming that De Lima gave him Espinosa’s contact number. However, Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson pointed out that Dayan, during a previous hearing at the House of Representatives (HoR), said that he met Espinosa without knowing his number.

Dayan reasoned out that he was “not thinking properly” during the House hearing and “could not remember” it during that time.

“I did not really understand why my colleagues have to do that, I mean, my colleagues had to ask for that, to cite him in contempt,” De Lima told reporters in an interview.

“Wala hong basehan. In other words, there was a prenotion, there was prejudgment that between him and Kerwin Espinosa, na si Ronnie Dayan yung nagsisinungaling (There’s no basis. In other words, there was a prenotion, there was prejudgment that between him and Kerwin Espinosa that Ronnie Dayan was lying),” she added.

De Lima pointed out that to her, “both of them are lying” and that she didn’t even know Espinosa personally despite having a photo with him and his wife.

“Of course may photo doon sa (there is a photo in) Burnham, but I don’t remember that photo was taken because hundreds of people in Burnham and other places in Baguio took photos with me in November 2015, and in March 2016,” she said.

De Lima said that her colleagues claimed that Dayan was “being evasive” and “kept changing” his statements but she explained that this was he was being forced to lie.

“…The truth is I have no such drug links with the Bilibid drug trade since the House inquiry failed in extracting that. Kasi inaasahan nila yang si Ronnie before he was arrested. At nung arrested, inasahan nila na naka-jackpot sila kay Ronnie na sasabihin niya o iko-confirm niya na may alleged drug links ako sa Bilibid (They were expecting that they hit a jackpot by arresting Ronnie, that he would confirm my alleged drug links in Bilibid),” De Lima said.

”But in fairness to the guy, wala siyang in-ano kasi hindi naman totoo yan. So since they failed, so mukhang sinubukan ang aking ilan-ilang kasamahan po dito sa Senado na gawin din yun (He didn’t reveal much because it’s not true. So since they failed, it looks like they are trying to get help from some of my colleagues in the Senate),” she added.

Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, however, confirmed that the Senate has “effectively lifted” the contempt ruling cited on Dayan after previously accused of telling lies during a Senate hearing for humanitarian reason.

Lacson, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, said that the Senate allowed Dayan to return to his home in Pangasinan feeling he needed to “compose himself.” Azer Parrocha/

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