NAAWAN, Misamis Occidental (MindaNews/26 November) — The understanding was that if he would cooperate and the Committee is convinced that he is telling the truth, he would walk out a free man from his detention cell in the House of Representatives.

Ronnie Dayan, the alleged driver-bodyguard and paramour of former Sec. of Justice Leila de Lima, who was detained for contempt was set free upon the conclusion of his testimony in the House probe on illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison.

The Committee was convinced that he was telling the truth. The substantial points of Dayan’s testimony are the following:

  • That he was a former driver- bodyguard and lover (live-in partner) of former DOJ Secretary, Leila de Lima
  • That he received money from Kerwin Espinosa on behalf of then Sec.de Lima
  • That he did not receive any campaign money for de Lima from any inmate of the national penitentiary.

Except for some discrepancy on the details, the testimony of Dayan corroborated the testimony of Kerwin Espinosa in the Senate made a day earlier that he handed money to Dayan intended for de Lima as Espinosa’s contribution to the Secretary’s campaign kitty.

Rep.  Umali, the Chair of the House Justice Committee, described the testimony of Dayan as anti- climatic, probably because the Committee had already completed its report on the inquiry whereby a number of NBP inmates including two former NBI directors testified that de Lima received drug money for her campaign fund through Ronnie Dayan, as her bagman.

During the interpellation, Umali discouraged committee members from asking Dayan questions that would impeach the testimonies of previous inmate-witnesses. For him it was already enough that Dayan had testified, thus had satisfied the purpose of the summon issued to him  that led to his arrest, and, hence, could already be set free if the Committee is convinced that he is telling the truth.

Thereafter, on such note, the interpellations dwelt salaciously on the ill-fated love life of Senator de Lima to the lecherous  glee of the members but, most likely, to the chagrin of right thinking people among the TV viewing public. Without question, the House show left a bad taste in the mouth.

Dayan whom the Committee thought as the missing link in the NBP drug probe turned out a great disappointment in the concerted effort to pin down de Lima as a drug coddler.

Come to think of it. Why would anybody give protection money to a future senator? How would a senator, a lawmaker, protect a drug lord or dealer or his business when she has no command over government law enforcers such as the Philippine National Police, Philippine Druge Enforcement Agency, National Breau of Investigation, and the courts? It’s difficult to imagine how a senator’s weight would factor on the duties of these institutions, particularly on their agents.

 A barangay chair or an SPO1 in the police force is practically in the best position to provide valuable protection to drug personalities and their trade than a high ranking senator of the land who is far away or detached from the wheeling and dealing of the trade at whatever level.

Apparently, Senator de Lima could not be pinned down as a drug coddler. So her enemies in the house made a different noise saying she could be charged for other offenses at the discretion of the Department of Justice.  Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre opined that she could be convicted for immorality having committed “concubinage” and for that reason could be removed from the Senate and be disbarred.

Can the feisty senator weather the storm away? (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan is a retired professor and former chancellor of the Mindanao State University Naawan campus in Misamis Oriental).