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Solons hit De Lima for preventing Dayan from testifying

/ 01:26 PM November 24, 2016
Leila de Lima Ronnie Dayan

Sen. Leila de Lima (right) stresses a point during press conference. De Lima says claims by Ronnie Dayan (right) that she received drug money from Kerwin Espinosa are ‘absolutely untrue.’ INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/LYN RILLON

Lawmakers slammed Senator Leila De Lima for barring her former driver and alleged bagman Ronnie Dayan from testifying in the House of Representatives inquiry into the Bilibid drug trade.

Dayan was the star witness in Thursday’s reopening of the inquiry in aid of legislation on the proliferation of the drug trade that allegedly benefitted De Lima, a former justice secretary.

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Majority Leader Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo “Rudy” Fariñas said De Lima may be liable for contempt of court and obstruction of justice.

“Medyo bordering on obstruction of justice and contempt of this House of Representatives,” Fariñas said.

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Fariñas read out the House rules on contempt, which stated that the committee may cite a person in contempt upon a votes two-thirds of all its members.

Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque lamented that De Lima even as an elected senator took on the role of preventing Dayan from testifying.

“Aside from condonations from the lady senator that she accused the committee of being a kangaroo court, only to find out today that she herself persuaded this witness not to appear and heed earlier invitations and summons,” Roque said.

“I appealed to our colleagues in the Senate that although we have the power to cite her in contempt, we probably will not because of her interparliamentary courtesy. I hope our colleagues will realize the seriousness we have today, that a sitting senator prevented the appearance of a key witness in a legislative investigation as part of concealing the truth,” he added

Roque called on De Lima to resign from her post following Dayan’s revelation.

“If this lady senator will not voluntarily resign from her post after this revelation, I hope our colleagues in the Senate will protect the integrity of Congress of the Philippines,” Roque said.

The lawmakers slammed De Lima after Dayan’s daughter Hannah Mae read out alleged text messages from De Lima named “Tita Lei” who urged Dayan to snub the House hearings.

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With her face covered, Dayan’s 23-year-old daughter said the supposed text message from De Lima dated Oct. 1 alleged that the House hearing was orchestrated by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on the whims of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Dayan had admitted delivering money from alleged Eastern Visayas drug lord Kerwin Espinosa to De Lima.

Dayan has said he gave the drug money from Espinosa to De Lima at least five times in 2014. Espinosa, however, said he gave De Lima at least P8 million in 2015 for the justice secretary’s senatorial campaign.

READ: ‘She even thanked me’: Kerwin claims De Lima aware of delivered money Dayan admits delivering Kerwin’s money to De Lima

Dayan was arrested in La Union around 11:30 a.m. last Tuesday after he was cited in contempt for snubbing the House of Representatives inquiry in aid of legislation on the proliferation of drugs at the New Bilibid Prison implicating De Lima.

READ: Ronnie Dayan arrested in La Union

During the turnover by the police to the House of Representatives Tuesday night, Dayan admitted receiving drug kickbacks from Espinosa for De Lima, an allegation the lady senator said was a lie.

READ: Dayan admits delivering Kerwin’s money to De Lima  | Dayan tells De Lima: Stay strong

Bilibid inmates who testified in the House inquiry tagged Dayan as the one who allegedly collected millions of kickbacks for De Lima from the drug trade for her senatorial campaign bid.

READ: House cites Ronnie Dayan in contempt; arrest order out 

De Lima has vehemently denied the allegation, pointing out that allies of President Duterte have an ax to grind against her since she has crossed swords with Duterte. De Lima as human rights chair investigated the alleged links of Duterte to the Davao Death Squad when the latter was mayor.

De Lima has admitted having an affair with Dayan, but said both of them were separated from their marriages at the time. De Lima has also expressed fear Dayan might be forced to testify against her. RAM/rga

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TAGS: House of Representatives, Illegal drugs, Kerwin Espinosa, Ronnie Dayan, Senator Leila de Lima
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