Espinosa, Dayan face off in Senate

MANILA — The Senate on Monday resumed the inquiry into the slaying of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. with the late mayor’s son and self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa and Ronnie Dayan — former security aide of Senator Leila de Lima — finally meeting face-to-face.

Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, Chair of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, led the hearing which was also attended by Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa and cops implicated in the illegal drug trade, including PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Region 8 director Supt. Marvin Marcos, Albuera Police head Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido among others.

To recall, both Dayan and Espinosa claimed in separate hearings that De Lima benefited from the illegal drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) by receiving money in exchange for protection of drug lords.

Senate President Pro-Tempore Franklin Drilon cited ‘irreconcilable inconsistencies’ between the testimonies of Dayan and Espinosa, particularly on dates and how the exchange was facilitated.

Dayan claimed the exchange happened in November 2014 while Espinosa insisted that the exchange took place in November 2015.

Another inconsistency in their testimonies was that Dayan claimed that De Lima facilitated the meeting while Espinosa insisted that Albuera, Leyte Police head Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido contacted Dayan to talk to him.

Dayan also claimed De Lima gave him Espinosa’s contact number. However, Senator Lacson pointed out that Dayan, during a previous hearing at the House of Representatives (HoR), said 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 think it is obvious there are irreconcilable inconsistencies between two witnesses. Irreconcilable inconsistencies are signs of fabrication and very poor fabrication at that,” Drilon said during the Senate inquiry.

Senator Richard “Dick” Gordon meanwhile moved to subpoena the call and text logs of both Dayan and Espinosa to review their conversations.

Other senators took turns asking questions. Meanwhile, despite earlier pronouncements that she would not show up at the hearing, De Lima joined the hearing and also began asking questions directed at PNP Chief Dela Rosa.

The Senate inquiry is ongoing as of posting time.

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