MANILA – Senator Panfilo Lacson confirmed on Monday that Ronnie Dayan, former bodyguard and alleged drug money bagman of Senator Leila de Lima, will be testifying in a Senate inquiry into the killing of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. next week.
Lacson, Chair of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, earlier expressed his desire to invite Dayan to compare his testimony with that of suspected Eastern Visayan drug lord Kerwin Espinosa who, like Dayan, claimed that De Lima received money in exchange for protection.
Aside from Dayan, Lacson said that also invited in next Monday’s Senate hearing are policemen named by Espinosa as having received kickbacks, including former Eastern Visayas police regional director Chief Supt. Asher Dolina and retired police general and now Mayor Vicente Loot of Daanbantayan, Cebu.
“…Nakikiusap si General Dolina kung pwedeng pakinggan ang side niya (General Dolina pleaded that we hear his side). So we’ll invite him (Dayan). We’re also thinking of inviting General Loot,” Lacson said.
Lacson said he wanted clarifications on two points, namely: how Dayan allegedly introduced Espinosa to Senator De Lima and specific dates.
He reiterated that he still doubted Espinosa’s testimony that Police Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido introduced him to Dayan and De Lima since Espenido had previously denied it.
Asked if De Lima is required to attend the Senate inquiry with Dayan present, Lacson said it would be up to her.
The senator also assured that the Senate would stick to an “issues-based” inquiry and not delve into the personal affairs of people concerned.
“Di kami magde-delve sa personal unless di maiiwasan dahil in relation to the issues involved na maungkat ang personal (We will not delve into personal matters unless it cannot be helped because it is in relation to the issues involved),” Lacson said.
“Pero di aabot sa anumang climax, di kami aabot sa ganoon (But we won’t allow it to reach any form of climax, we won’t go that far),” he added.
De Lima earlier described Dayan’s claim that she benefited from the illegal drug trade as “a shame” campaign, noting that those she once trusted were manipulated into “twisting the truth” for their benefit.
Congressmen, meanwhile, in a hearing at the House of Representatives (HoR) took the opportunity to delve into the Dayan-De Lima affair which, according to Dayan, lasted for seven years.
De Lima previously admitted to having had an affair with Dayan, but stressed that admission of their past relationship did not constitute proof of her culpability in the illegal drug trade.
She and fellow female Senators Risa Hontiveros and Grace Poe also slammed how the congressmen could make a fanfare out of her personal life. Azer Parrocha/PNA-northboundasia.com