Who got P1-M reward for Dayan’s capture?
DAGUPAN CITY—Residents of Barangay Lacong in San Gabriel town in La Union province said the P1-million reward for the arrest of Ronnie Dayan, the former driver and lover of Sen. Leila de Lima, may have gone to the wrong man.
Juanito Gavina, a farmer from Sitio Bato in Lacong, was the first person to inform village officials about Dayan’s presence there, but his neighbors were surprised to learn that the bounty went to an unidentified goatherd, said Dominador Lilan, barangay chief of Lacong.
People in his village had been teasing Gavina to share the bounty with them, “and he was so embarrassed because he did not have the money,” Lilan told the Inquirer by phone on Tuesday.
Dayan was arrested on Nov. 22 after hiding for weeks in San Gabriel. His arrest was ordered by the House of Representatives after he failed to appear at its inquiry into drug trafficking inside New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa City.
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption, which put up the bounty, said it had turned over the money to the goatherd.
The goatherd, his face covered to protect his identity, appeared at the House on Nov. 24 to receive the reward.
The reward was given on the same day that Dayan faced the House and testified to receiving money from confessed narcotics kingpin Kerwin Espinosa for De Lima, but saying he did not know that Espinosa was a drug dealer. He also denied he received money for De Lima from drug convicts serving their sentences at NBP.
Lilan said Gavina first told him about Dayan’s presence in Bato on Nov. 20, after Dayan’s pictures were shown on television.
Gavina was sure about Dayan because he helped build his house when De Lima’s driver moved there in September, Lilan said.
Lilan said Gavina knew Dayan as Dodong, the alias Dayan used in San Gabriel.
“At that time, Gavina did not know that Dayan was being hunted by the authorities. All he knew was that Dayan was there to breed fighting cocks,” Lilan said.
On Nov. 21, Gavina led a team of policemen to Dayan’s hut in Sitio Bato.
“Dayan was watering his ampalaya plants at that time. But he sensed that policemen were coming so he escaped,” Lilan said.
The next day, Dayan was arrested in Sitio Turod in Barangay San Felipe in San Juan after a chase across a cornfield, not a rice field as earlier reported.
Gavina did the job well, but the lonely goatherd beat him to the million bucks and went yodeling happily to parts unknown.
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