De Lima: Ex-driver’s recent claims prove coercion of witnesses to testify
MANILA, Philippines — Detained Senator Leila de Lima on Thursday recalls how former driver Ronnie Dayan’s recent clarifications pushed or pressured witnesses into testifying against her to build these “trumped-up charges.”
This came after the camp of De Lima’s former driver-bodyguard, Dayan, released a clarification on Wednesday, noting that in a manifestation filed before the Muntinlupa City Regional Trial Court Branches 204 and 256 on April 4, Dayan’s counsel, Atty. Haidee Soriano claimed that “any statements” his client made during a Senate investigation into the assassination of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa were made “under duress.”
“I am much aware of reports about this incident where Dayan was cornered by certain senators and intimidated into confessing without the assistance of a lawyer. This was the time when congressmen and senators were trying to outdo each other in destroying me just to score ‘pogi’ points with Duterte,” said De Lima.
“By now, we already know that Dayan, along, with other witnesses were intimidated and forced, to testify against me. Kung hindi man para sa sarili nilang kaligtasan, kalayaan o iba pang insentibo, kailangan nilang gawin ‘yun dahil maliban sa pressure at takot, baka buhay nila o ng kapamilya nila mismo ang nakataya,” she added.
(If not for their own safety, freedom or other incentives, they have to do that because apart from pressure and fear, their lives or those of their own family members may be at stake.)
This developed after presidential contender Senator Manny Pacquiao, during the second Comelec PiliPinas Presidential Debate, claimed that he was able to talk to Dayan, and explained that he “confessed.”
However, Dayan’s camp stressed that he had already “repeatedly denied” in his counter-affidavits that he was involved in the illegal drug trade, including receiving money sourced from the drug trade.
De Lima had been detained since February 24, 2017, detained for drug charges which her camp said were “trumped up.”
One of the three drug charges against her has already been dismissed due to lack of evidence. The two other cases are still pending.
She is currently eyeing reelection as senator in the upcoming national elections on May 9.