De Lima cites inconsistencies in testimonies of 3 witnesses
An emotional Sen. Leila de Lima implored on Monday the three resource persons in the Senate inquiry into allegations that she received drug money when she was justice secretary to fund her senatorial campaign to tell the truth.
“It’s very clear to everyone, let us not feign ignorance that the inconsistencies in your testimonies are not cases of simple, minor, innocuous inconsistencies,” De Lima said.
“There are very serious, these are very glaring, these are very irreconcilable versions of stories about me knowing you … I’m giving you the chance, please tell the truth,” she pleaded.
She addressed the Albuera police director, Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido, confessed drug trafficker Kerwin Espinosa and her former bodyguard and lover, Ronnie Dayan.
According to Espinosa’s account, Espenido was his link to Dayan, but Dayan yesterday insisted that it was De Lima who gave him Espinosa’s cell phone number.
“She told me, ‘Call this number. We already have an agreement. Just talk to him,’” Dayan said when repeatedly asked by senators yesterday how he got to know Espinosa.
Espinosa claimed to have transacted with Dayan several times from August 2015 until February this year to fund De Lima’s senatorial bid. He alleged that De Lima received P8 million in “protection money” from him.
De Lima said both Dayan and Espinosa were telling half-truths. She maintained she did not know Espinosa or that she received money from him. “All that is not true,” she said.
Despite several “bathroom breaks” and the relentless questioning from the senators looking into the Nov. 5 killing by a police team of Kerwin’s father, Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., Dayan did not budge from his previous claims.
Dayan maintained that the meeting in Baguio City between Espinosa and the senator occurred in November 2014, not on Nov. 19, 2015, when she was still justice secretary and he was still working for her. Dayan returned to his hometown in Pangasinan in February 2015.
But Espinosa had stated that he personally met with De Lima on Nov. 19 last year at Burnham Park to make sure that De Lima was receiving the cash he was giving through Dayan.
Invited to attend yesterday’s hearing, Ram Espinosa, a cousin of Espinosa, also confirmed that the meeting took place on Nov. 19, 2015.
He also said he was listed as the official guest of Hotel Alexandra, where Espinosa stayed during the alleged meeting.
Senior Supt. Ramil Saculles, acting Baguio police chief, testified that police records showed that De Lima was in the city on that date.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who is leading the Senate inquiry, called out Dayan for having a “selective memory,” saying that he only remembered details he wanted to.
He took note of Dayan’s repeated requests to be excused for bathroom breaks during the hearing.
“Excuse nang excuse, but he had not told the truth,” the senator said in jest.
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