MANILA, Nov. 29 (PNA) — Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Tuesday said that Senator Leila De Lima’s former security escort and lover Ronnie Palisoc Dayan did not show up and did not submit his affidavit for inclusion in the government’s Witness Protection Program (WPP).
“(I have) not yet received any message that Dayan will go to DOJ to file his affidavit for WPP,” he told reporters.
Aguirre said Dayan had promised to return to Manila on Tuesday according to his lawyer because Dayan misses his family in Pangasinan where he was brought after his testimony last week before the House committee on justice to begin the formal processing of his application.
Aguirre also said that alleged Eastern Visayas drug lord Kerwin Espinosa was also supposed to file his affidavit for WPP application.
“According to Kerwin’s lawyer they are going to make a motion with the court who issued the warrant of arrest to allow the transfer,” he noted.
For Dayan’s part, Aguirre said he is a free man and he could go anywhere he wants to go and nobody could compel him to go to the DOJ.
“Itong dalawa hindi nga pumupunta sa DOJ tapos yung DOJ mas interesado pa pumunta yung dalawa kasi dito we are offering the services of WPP, kung ayaw nila ok very good, kung gusto nila ok din,” Aguirre explained.
Espinosa and Dayan are expected to further disclose information that could link De Lima to the proliferation of the illegal drugs trade in the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City.
Earlier, Aguirre placed Espinosa and Dayan under provisional WPP coverage in exchange for revelations that could pin down government officials including De Lima who are allegedly involved in the proliferation of illegal drugs in the country.
Aguirre said that Espinosa and Dayan would be given security protection following their testimonies in the Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, pending review and approval of their eligibility as state witnesses.
Aguirre said the sworn affidavits that will be evaluated and studied will determine if they are qualified to become a state witness and placed under the WPP free from criminal prosecution.
“For them to qualify as state witnesses for WPP coverage, they must appear to be not the most guilty in the crimes charged,” he stressed.
The DOJ chief further explained that while the two could be used as state witnesses, it would be the court that will decide if they would be granted immunity from indictment in the drug charges.
A person formally included in the WPP coverage would be given several privileges, including provision of a housing facility or safe house that could be extended to members of their families, financial assistance, assistance in obtaining means of livelihood, payment equivalent of salary as compensation for absences in work, travel expenses and medical expenses.
Witnesses under WPP who die would also be given death benefits, including free college education to their children.
It will be recalled that even before his return to the country from the United Arab Emirates where he was arrested after months of hiding, Espinosa through Philippine Ambassador Constancio Vingno Jr. has conveyed his desire to be included in the WPP.
Dayan, meanwhile, was captured by police in La Union last Nov. 22 based on the warrant issued by the House justice committee that cited him in contempt for ignoring its summons to attend its hearings involving the investigation on the proliferation of illegal drugs at the NBP.
He also asked for the same protection as Espinosa after being held in Congress.
Dayan also faces drug raps at the DOJ filed by Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), and former NBI deputy directors Ruel Lasala and Reynaldo Esmeralda.
The complaints stemmed from De Lima’s alleged involvement in the proliferation of the illegal drugs trade at the national penitentiary.