MANILA – Upon a motion by Senator Manny Pacquiao, the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs chaired by Senator Panfilo Lacson cited Ronnie Palisoc Dayan, the former driver and lover of Senator Leila De Lima, in contempt for not telling the “whole truth.”
In his manifestation, Pacquiao said many inconsistencies in Dayan’s testimony are simply so damning. “I am citing you in contempt for not telling the whole truth,” Pacquiao said.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III technically seconded Pacquiao by amending his motion to keep Dayan inside Building 14 of the National Bilibid Prison, where high-profile inmates including drug lords are incarcerated, until he tells the whole truth.
“In the meantime [that we have not finalized your] detention, the Office of the Sergeant-At-Arms (OSAA) will take you into custody,” Lacson said.
The chief of the OSAA, retired General Jose Balajadia, that Dayan is now being held inside the Senate holding room located near their office at the ground floor of the building.
“As usual, nasa holding area siya,” Balajadia told InterAksyon.
Lacson explains contempt
During the hearing, Lacson explained to Dayan in Filipino the power of the panel to jail him under the Rules of Procedures Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation.
“Any member can cite you in contempt for testifying falsely or evasively,” Lacson said.
The senator cited Section 18, which states: “Contempt – (a) The Chairman with the concurrence of at least one (1) member of the Committee, may punish or cite in contempt any witness before the Committee who disobeys any order of the Committee or refuses to be sworn or to testify or to answer a proper question by the Committee or any of its members, or testifying, testifies falsely or evasively, or who unduly refuses to appear or bring before the Committee certain documents and/or object evidence required by the Committee notwithstanding the issuance of the appropriate subpoena therefor. A majority of all the members of the Committee may, however, reverse or modify the aforesaid order of contempt within seven (7) days.”
The section continues: “A contempt of the Committee shall be deemed a contempt of the Senate. Such witness may be ordered by the Committee to be detained in such place as it may designate under the custody of the Sergeant-at-Arms until he/she agrees to produce the required documents, or to be sworn or to testify, or otherwise purge himself/herself of that contempt.”
Pacquiao cites inconsistencies
Pacquiao expressed belief that Dayan was hiding or protecting somebody when he named only alleged Eastern Visayas drug distributor Kerwin Espinosa as the financier of Senator Leila De Lima in the May 2016 elections.
“Isipin nyo, nakakapag-appoint siya ng tao like sa Customs at sa iba pang ahensiya, ibig sabihin malakas siya na tao. At si Kerwin taga Visayas, Albuera Leyte, na nakontak niya,” Pacquiao said. He was referring to the appointment of former Bureau of Corrections Chief Franklin Bucayu on Dayan’s endorsement.
“How much more here in Manila, there are so many powerful moneyed groups here. Do you think it’s really just Kerwin he’d approach for money? I can’t believe that,” Pacquiao added, partly in Filipino.
Dayan wanted senators to believe his testimony that it was only Kerwin who gave him drug payola despite information reaching the Senate that he (Dayan) got payola from drug lords operating inside the New Bilibid Prisons, Pacquiao said.
“Gusto niyang pagpaniwalain ang Senado, kami dito, na si Kerwin lang ang kausap nya. Hindi ko matanggap na isipin, pinipilit ko ang sarili ko na maniwala, so hindi kaya. Hindi pumasok sa puso ko, sa isipan ko,” Pacquiao said.
“May mga information kasi na maraming contact si Dayan na mataas na officials na hindi niya binabanggit. Yun ang gusto kong ilabas niya, sabihin niya, hindi yung itinatago,” he added.
Without confirmation from Dayan, Pacquiao refused to name those other officials who supposedly gave drug money and other forms of payola to De Lima.
“May naririnig lang ako. Pero gusto ko pang ikompirma. Kaya gusto ngang isiwalat ang mga koneksiyon niya. Ang problema diyan, si Dayan kasi pinipili lang niya ang taong babanggitin niya,” Pacquiao said.
“Pangalawa, playing safe siya. Sini-safety niya yung sarili niya na hindi siya madidiin [Second, he’s playing safe. He’s shielding himself so that he can’t be pinned down],” he added.
Meanwhile, Senator Richard Gordon, chair of the Senate Justice and Human Rights committee also investigating the extrajudicial killings, noted that Dayan has finally realized it was November 2015 and not 2014, when he and De Lima met with Kerwin Espinosa at Burnham Park in Baguio City.
“Inamin na nya na 2015, kasi iyon lamang ang inconsistencies, (20)14 siya, (20)15 si Kerwin. Saka andoon na eh, may logbook ang hotel, may testigo si Kerwin, mayroon pang isa, inamin na din ni Dayan na (20)15, noong ipakita sa kanya ang litrato,” Gordon said.
Gordon said that even though Dayan finally corrected himself on the date of his meeting with Kerwin, his credibility is still low in some other aspects where he is obviously protecting somebody.
“His credibility is low; he is protecting somebody and like I said, they are all lying. I was very, very frank with them,” Gordon said.
Earlier, Dayan insisted that he met Kerwin in November 2014, inside a parking lot in Burnham Park in Baguio City, where he received the supposed campaign funds for De Lima.
De Lima’s appeal
Nonetheless, De Lima appealed to both Kerwin and Dayan to tell the whole truth after denying she received campaign funds from the drug trade.
“Alam kong pareho kasi kayong nagsisinungaling sa puntong yan. Pero, Mr. Espinosa, Ronnie, pakisabi ang katotohanan, sinasabi ko nga may sinasabi kayong katotohanan,” De Lima said.
De Lima denied receiving money and knowing Kerwin. She then appealed to both Kerwin and Dayan to tell the truth, adding that if they are lying because they are under duress, the Senate will protect them if they tell the truth.
However, she cited inconsistencies in their testimonies. “I see many very serious, very glaring and very irreconcileable testimonies. It would be so great to cross-examine you, except that if I do so that would give your handlers an opportunity to ‘cure’ the contradictions, as that can be seen from my line of questioning,” the senator said.
She said their lawyers simply inserted her name in the so-called drug payola list of Kerwin.
“Alam kong may mga dahilan, kaya itinuturo nyo ako pero I forgive you pati ang mga andoon sa Bilibid. Hindi ako galit sa inyo, galit ako sa taong gumagamit sa inyo, ginagamit kayo upang siraan ako [I know you have your reasons for lying to implicate me, but I forgive you, as well as those in Bilibid [prison] who also lied about me. I am not mad at you; I am mad at those using you to ruin me],” De Lima said.