THE Senate plans to invite the former lover and alleged bagman of Senator Leila de Lima, Ronnie Dayan, to the next hearing of its committee on public order and dangerous drugs, to iron out inconsistencies between his claims and those of self-confessed Eastern Visayas drug lord Kerwin Espinosa.
In an interview on radio dzBB, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said committee chairman Senator Panfilo Lacson wanted both Dayan and Espinosa in the same hearing so that they could determine who was telling the truth.
While Dayan admitted during a House hearing Thursday that he collected money from Espinosa, he said he didn’t know it came from drugs.
He also denied knowing Albuera police chief Insp. Jovito Espenido, whom Espinosa said had called him up so that he could speak with Dayan.
In that phone call, Espinosa said, Dayan said De Lima wanted P2 million a month to bankroll her senatorial bid. Dayan denied having this conversation, and also denied knowing the convicted drug lords detained at the New Bilibid Prison, who testified before the House to giving millions in payoffs to De Lima through Dayan.
Espinosa said his dealings with Dayan lasted from 2015 to 2016, but Dayan said he was no longer employed by De Lima by then, and that the transactions took place in 2014.
Sotto said the senators were not satisfied with the testimonies of either witness, saying that only 70 percent of what they said was true.
He said both seemed to be trying to save themselves through their testimony.
Despite the inconsistencies in his testimony, Dayan was seen as a “vital witness,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.
Some lawmakers raised doubts about Dayan’s testimony Thursday, citing inconsistencies between his and Espinosa’s testimony, particularly on details about when their transactions took place.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday denied that he was doing a demolition job on De Lima, saying even before the key witnesses appeared before the House and the Senate
Duterte said that even before the key witnesses appeared and testify in the Senate and House of Representatives, he already knew everything that De Lima had been doing, including her affair with Dayan.
“I’ve already kept silent,” he said.
De Lima had earlier accused Duterte of being behind of all the intrigues that she is facing right now, including allegations that she was involved in illegal drugs.