MANILA, Philippines – At the House of Representatives inquiry into alleged drug dealing at National Bilibid Prison, witness Joenel Sanchez, a former security aide of then justice secretary and now Senator Leila de Lima, refuted the claim of inmate Jaybee Sebastian about him receiving money on behalf of De Lima’s prospective election run for a senate seat in this year’s national election.
The two men went head-to-head at the justice committee hearing Monday at the resumption of the inquiry in aid of legislation.
In his testimony, Sebastian, a high profile inmate at the penitentiary, claimed that he raised a total of P10 million for De Lima from drug money to help boost her election bid. He said the money was given between late 2014 and 2015, some of it, with some of it received by Sanchez.
He also alluded to the observation that De Lima and Sanchez had an intimate relationship, with De Lima having once addressing her aide with the term of endearment “Sweetie.”
Sanchez did not have any of that: “That’s not true. What he’s saying is not true.”
Sanchez, a member of the Presidential Security Group, served as close-in aide of De Lima from July 2010 to May 2015.
In his testimony last week, Sanchez claimed he had an opportunity view two sex videos allegedly of De Lima and her driver, Ronnie Dayan on the latter’s mobile phone.
However, Sanchez, who read his affidavit into the record of the legislative inquiry, did not mention an instance when he saw De Lima directly receive drug money.
Antipolo Rep. Romeo Acop pointed out the conflicting statements of Sanchez and Sebastian.
“You said that the boyfriend is Dayan,” Acop told Sanchez, “but here comes another guy saying you are [De Lima’s] ‘sweetie.’ One of you is lying and the other is telling the truth.”
Sanchez replied that he has an unblemished record in his 19 years in service. The National Bureau of Investigation also indicated that Sanchez passed the lie detector test.
Before Sanchez was called to reply, Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas asked Sebastian to approach him and identify him in the room, by way of determining if he knows the man he was accusing of having an affair with De Lima.
Sebastian approached Sanchez and tapped him on the shoulder.