“De Lima, farthest from my mind was to derogate your person. But I have to mention your relationship because it was your driver who was in contact with the rest of the guys there inside the prison,” Mr. Duterte said in a news conference before dawn yesterday in Davao City.
Without elaborating, Mr. Duterte said the driver, identified in media reports as Ronnie Palisoc Dayan, visited New Bilibid Prison (NBP) to make a deal with convicted leaders of notorious drug syndicates.
For the first time, Senator Leila De Lima has admitted having had a relationship with her former driver and bodyguard Ronnie Dayan.
She made the admission in an exclusive interview with Winnie Monsod on “Bawal ang Pasaway kay Mareng Winnie” that will air on Monday night on GMA News TV.
De Lima described her involvement with her driver as “frailties of a woman.”
When asked how long the relationship lasted, she answered: “A few years.”
Dayan has been tagged by several witnesses in a House of Representatives as allegedly the go-between for De Lima and inmates involved in the drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison.
Duterte claimed the driver-bodyguard, whom he alleged had collected money from drug traders for de Lima’s senatorial campaign, could not have acted without her knowledge. The two were intimate, he said, based on recordings of their “lovers’ talk” over the phone.
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The President also revealed that a certain “Barlaan” was another De Lima “bagman” who allegedly allowed the manufacturing of “shabu,” or methamphetamine hydrocloride, in the national penitentiary in Muntinlupa City.
He was apparently referring to former Justice Undersecretary Francisco Baraan, who was then in charge
of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
The President warned the personnel of the BuCor and the NBP who would refuse to cooperate with the parallel investigation of De Lima by his political allies in the House of Representatives.
“When we start to ask questions, you better tell us the truth or else I will charge you all—superintendents, wardens, supervisors—in a case of conspiracy to commit serious wrong,” he said.