House set to reopen probe on Bilibid drugs trade on Thursday

MANILA — The House of Representatives Justice committee is set to reopen on Thursday its investigation on the illegal drugs trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) following the arrest of Ronnie Dayan, who was pinned down by several inmate witnesses as Sen. Leila de Lima’s alleged drug money bagman.

In an interview on Wednesday, House Justice committee chair Rep. Reynaldo Umali described Dayan as the “missing link” and urged him to “come to his senses and tell all” before the congressional inquiry.

”All the witnesses pinned him down. So he really is the missing link. Hopefully, Dayan will come to his senses and tell all. As he conveyed last night, he is willing to cooperate and tell all in the committee and in the House of Representatives,” Umali said.

Umali also revealed that lawyers from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines will assist Dayan in executing his affidavit regarding his knowledge and involvement in the narcotics trade at the national penitentiary.

“We have given Dayan an opportunity to seek out a lawyer of his personal choice. But as of this morning, he still has not decided. So we informed him that we have requested the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to assist him and he seems to be amenable to the lawyer to be provided by the IBP,” he said.

Umali said Atty. Manny Buenaventura and Atty. Abeth Reyes will serve as legal counsels of Dayan, a former driver and security aide of De Lima.

The Oriental Mindoro lawmaker said that as far as the House is concerned, Dayan will walk out a “free man” after he gives his testimony at the congressional inquiry, unless a case will be filed against him for his alleged links to the illegal drug operations at the NBP.

”If he serves his purpose, which is really to answer the questions of the House, then he is a free man,” Umali said.

“He was only issued a warrant because he did not honor the House of his presence when he was called to do so,” he added.

To recall, the Lower Chamber cited Dayan in contempt and ordered for his arrest last Oct. 10 for failure to appear at the congressional inquiry.

Umali also earlier said that the granting of immunity for Dayan will depend on his testimonies and will still be subject to approval by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. Filane Cervantes/