‘Senator’s lover-driver collected drug money’

The Philippine Star

Rody: You want a name? It’s De Lima

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Leila de Lima’s married driver was her lover who collected money from convicted drug lords at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) during her election campaign, President Duterte said yesterday.

Duterte dropped the bombshell in a speech before police officers and personnel gathered at Camp Crame for the 115th anniversary celebration of the police service.

He did not mention De Lima in his speech, but confirmed later in a press conference he was referring to her.

“Here is a senator complaining, when one day I will tell you that her driver himself, who was her lover, was the one also collecting money for her during the campaign,” Duterte said.

Pressed later by reporters to name the senator, he replied, “It’s part of my duty. You want to know the name? De Lima.”

His tirade against the senator came days after airing a threat to “destroy” a female official critical of him. 

Duterte, who has been shaming officials with alleged links to drug lords, has not gotten over De Lima’s allegation during the campaign that he is connected with vigilante death squads in Davao City.

“She blurted out that ‘I will prove to you in this investigation that Duterte is connected with Davao Death Squad. He is the head’…Until now, I’m waiting for that,” the President said in a press conference in Pasay City. 

“You (De Lima) slandered me. I kept quiet because you are a lady. You crossed the line. Maybe you won on the platform of human rights. The Filipinos who believed you were stupid,” he added.

De Lima, a former justice secretary and chair of the Commission on Human Rights, bagged the 12th slot in the 2016 senatorial race with 14.4 million votes.

In his speech hours earlier at Camp Crame, Duterte talked about an unnamed “immoral” senator who is allegedly having an illicit affair with her married driver-bodyguard.

“Here is an immoral woman, flaunting… Well of course, insofar as wife of the driver was concerned, it’s adultery. Here is a woman who funded the house of her lover and yet we do not see any complaint about it,” he added.

He said the money her driver had collected at the NBP came from drugs and may have been used to finance her campaign last May. He admitted he couldn’t tell yet if she was aware of her lover making trips to NBP to collect funds from drug convicts.

“Those money came readily from drugs. The intercept between Muntinlupa and the driver were far beyond making sure that somebody was involved,” he said.

“But in fairness, I would never state here that the driver gave the money to her but by the looks of it, she has it,” the President said. “You are politicking and posturing when you yourself have a very sordid personal unofficial life.”

Duterte said he has a compact disc containing a video showing De Lima promising to prove his ties with the Davao Death Squad.

“I would like her to eat it in my presence but I could not do it because it’s not an accepted edible food for human beings,” the tough talking President said.

De Lima has said that she is supportive of the war against drugs as long as due process is followed and human rights are respected.

Last Monday, De Lima wrote a letter asking Duterte to monitor the Senate hearings on the killing of suspected drug personalities.

The Senate justice committee led by De Lima is scheduled to hold an inquiry into the killings on Aug. 22 and 23.

Probe set

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa said he would have the driver-bodyguard of De Lima investigated even as he admitted it was his first time to hear about his alleged activities at the NBP.

“I will conduct investigation,” said Dela Rosa in an ambush interview at Camp Crame. He denied the PNP was the source of information of the President about De Lima’s driver.

“Sa ngayon di kami nakikialam, baka mamaya gawing personal issue yan against us, eh haharap pa naman kami sa Senado, mahirap yun (We’re hands off as of now. They might take it personally against us, and it won’t  be good as we’re facing the Senate),” he added.

Based on initial information gathered by The STAR, the alleged driver-lover is Ronnie Palisoc Dayan who is in his mid 50s.

The bungalow house allegedly built by De Lima for Dayan is located in Barangay Galarin in Urbiztondo, Pangasinan.

Dayan and his family used to live with his parents until his wife and their children relocated somewhere in Bulacan. Their new house was reportedly bought through the “generosity” of De Lima as Dayan earns only a meager income as driver-bodyguard.

De Lima, based on some accounts, would visit a big grocery in nearby San Carlos City reportedly to buy goods for her and Dayan.

De Lima was reportedly also a frequent visitor in Barangay Galarin during fiestas where she would be seen dancing.

People would know if De Lima was coming with Dayan as they would usually have an advance party.

Dayan had planned to run as municipal councilor in the 2016 elections but did not pursue it as his political party would be different from De Lima’s and this might complicate matters.

As of Aug. 15, the PNP Monitoring and Operation Center reported 612 drug personalities killed and 8,623 arrested in ongoing anti-illegal drug operations since July 1.

The PNP said territorial and national units conducted a total of 5,632 police operations and visited 324,222 houses as part of the Project Tokhang.

A total of 576,176 self confessed users and pushers have surrendered. – Cecille Suerte Felipe, Eva Visperas

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