RONNIE Dayan was cited in contempt and detained in the Senate for lying and denying he knew the convicted drug lords in the New Bilibid Prison who had testified that they gave drug money to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to help finance her candidacy for senator.
President Rodrigo Duterte had earlier named Dayan as the “bagman” of De Lima who collected drug money to bankroll her candidacy in the May elections.
In the House hearing on the proliferation of illegal drugs at the national penitentiary, the convicted drug lords in Bilibid said they gave drug money to Dayan for De Lima.
Dayan on Monday stood by his earlier testimony that he did not know the drug lords in Bilibid and that he never received drug money from them.
Dayan, a former driver and bodyguard of De Lima, repeatedly told the Senate committee on public order and illegal drugs that he received campaign funds only from Kerwin Espinosa, the son of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa who was killed in prison during an alleged shootout with policemen.
Dayan said he received from Kerwin a total of P8 million as agreed upon. He said he collected money from Kerwin five times and gave it to De Lima in 2014.
He also reiterated he was not aware that Kerwin was a drug lord and initially thought he was an engineer.
But the senators later concurred with the suggestion of Senator Manny Pacquiao to cite him in contempt for lying.
Pacquiao moved to cite Ronnie Dayan in contempt for his “lies” and contradictory statements in the Senate hearing. He earlier questioned Dayan’s conflicting answers to the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Committee chairman Panfilo Lacson said Dayan will remain under the Senate’s custody until they decide on his transfer to a detention facility.
Lacson said his committee, the lead panel investigating the death of Espinosa Sr., will meet with the members of the committee on justice led by Senator Richard Gordon to decide on the amended motion to have Dayan detained at the New Bilibid Prison.
“Regarding the status of Ronnie Dayan, in the meantime that he is being held, that he is being cited in contempt, or has been cited in contempt of this committee, you will stay first here in the Senate premises and we will resolve it,” Lacson said.
“I’ll meet with the members of the two committees to decide or pursue to transfer you to Building 14 in Muntinlupa. You will be placed under the custody of the Senate.”
It was Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III who amended Pacquiao’s motion and proposed that Dayan be detained at the national penitentiary.
Lacson had also assailed Dayan for his “selective memory” and being evasive.
“Why do you have a selective memory? You only remember what you want to remember, and forget what you want to forget,” Lacson said.