Why De Lima faced Dayan in Senate hearing

Camille Elemia
Why De Lima faced Dayan in Senate hearing
'Nakita ko nga yung aura ni Ronnie Dayan. Sabi ko there’s something wrong. Naawa ako,' says Senator Leila de Lima

She initially had no plans of attending the hearing and facing her former security aide Ronnie Dayan but Senator Leila de Lima eventually had a change of mind.

Dayan, with whom De Lima had a past 7-year relationship, faced on Monday, December 5, the Senate probe into the killing of Albuera mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. The mayor’s son Kerwin alleged that he gave money for De Lima through Dayan – something that Dayan himself admitted.

So why did the senator change her mind? Two reasons.

Her first reason: Her colleagues were not asking about Duterte’s order to reinstate Superintendent Marvin Marcos, chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of Region 8 – the group that conducted the operation that led to the death of Mayor Espinosa.

Second, pity. She said she felt bad for Dayan upon seeing his face on her office’s television monitor.

“Kaya nga ayaw ko talaga, hindi ho ako dapat maga-attend as I’ve told you. Number one, nakikita ko nga hindi naman nila tinatanong yung tungkol sa Marcos-Bong Go. Pangalawa, nakita ko nga yung aura ni Ronnie Dayan. Sabi ko there’s something wrong. Naawa ako,” De Lima told reporters, adding some senators were pressuring Dayan.

(I really didn’t want to as I’ve told you. Number one, I saw that they were not asking about Marcos-Bong Go. Second, I saw the aura of Ronnie Dayan. I said, there’s something wrong. I felt pity.)

De Lima said she believes Dayan was only threatened, saying he would not lie without a “compelling reason.” To further prove her point, De Lima added Dayan loves his family, especially his children and grandchildren.

“Awa, more of awa. Kahit ganun ang ginagawa na…alam mo na, sumasama siya diyan sa kasinungalingan na yan, I know na hindi niya yan gagawin kung walang compelling reason. And more of ano yan, takot sa buhay niya yan, saka sa pamilya niya. Mahal na mahal niya ang mga anak niya saka mga apo niya,” she said.

(Pity, more of pity even if that’s what he’s doing… You know, being a party to those lies. I know that he won’t do that without any compelling reason. It’s more of, he’s scared for his life, and for his family. He really loves his children and grandchildren.)

While De Lima said she had already forgiven Dayan, the senator said it is generally difficult for her to forgive those who have wronged her.

Madali akong magpatawad, although hindi ako madaling makalimot sa mga taong may kasalanan sa akin. Naawa talaga ako (I forgive easily although I don’t forget easily). So may God bless him and his family,” she said.

Dayan, in a House probe, earlier lamented how De Lima ignored his calls for help. But De Lima denied it, saying she never received such messages from Dayan or his family.

Had she received them, the senator said she would have helped her former driver as part of her “moral obligation.”

“Yeah. I will. Why not? Nangangailangan yung tao. Nagtatago, gipit ang sitwasyon. (The person is needing help. Hiding, in a tight situation.) There’s nothing wrong with that. Again, it’s a moral obligation to help him.

De Lima earlier criticized some senators for citing Dayan in contempt, claiming it was “baseless.”

De Lima is facing charges for her alleged connection to illegal drugs, with Dayan as her supposed bagman. The senator strongly denied the accusations, saying these are all “fabrications” that are part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s personal vendetta. – Rappler.com

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com