De Lima says Dayan’s ‘lies’ a chance to clear her name
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Leila de Lima on Wednesday belied claims that her former driver, bodyguard and lover Ronnie Dayan had bared publicly against her after his arrest on Tuesday even as she welcomed the opportunity to clear the allegations in court.
“Ronnie’s claim is absolutely untrue. I don’t know Kerwin [Espinosa], and neither does Ronnie,” said De Lima, in reference to the alleged drug lord who claimed giving Dayan money for the Senator.
Dayan, who President Rodrigo Duterte had named alongside De Lima as among those behind the drug trade at the national penitentiary, had said in a press conference Tuesday that he had received drug money from Kerwin Espinosa on De Lima’s behalf five times in 2014, when the lawmaker was still Justice Secretary.
But De Lima said Dayan was no longer working for her at the time.
“Ronnie was no longer [working for me] during the time he said he took or gave money. So how could I have ordered him to get money from Kerwin?” De Lima said.
“But, of course, as expected, Ronnie was forced to lie against me,” she said in a text message.
In a separate statement, De Lima said the administration has “successfully turned” Dayan into “another one of my accusers.”
She, however, welcomed the chance to set things straight.
“It appears that Ronnie Dayan has been successfully turned into another one of my accusers by this administration,” De Lima said.
“Nevertheless, I welcome this as an opportunity to clear my name as soon as all these fiction stories of the underworld are weaved into a complete but grotesque tapestry and finally filed before a court of law, where I can properly defend myself, hopefully this time without the fanfare and the drama of my persecution before the media,” she said.
She said she was ready to prove her innocence “before the proper forum.”
“Even as they portrayed Ronnie Dayan as the missing link to their drug conspiracies, his arrest and so-called admissions yesterday present an opportunity for me to put this issue to a close,” De Lima said.
“I still hope that the authorities, in the exercise of their duties, act within the bounds of the law, without abusing their powers and using force and intimidation on purported witnesses, including Ronnie Dayan,” she said.
She hoped for “justice and truth to prevail,” acknowledging that she has become “a human rights and justice advocate turned drug queen.” CDG
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.