By MB Online
After consistently remaining mum in the past, Senator Leila de Lima confirmed what had been rumored all along: she had a relationship with her former driver and bodyguard Ronnie Dayan.
De Lima made the confession exclusively on Winnie Monsod’s “Bawal ang Pasaway” program, which aired Monday evening, November 14, on GMA News TV.
“Frailties of a woman,” the lady senator said when Monsod asked why, given her status, she fell in love with a driver like Dayan.
She said it was borne out of trust: “We became so close. That’s it. I trusted him. Siyempre, naano po ang loob ko.”
De Lima had kept silent about the affair even as President Rodrigo Duterte himself was using it as ammunition in his invectives against the senator.
The closest to admission she made was during an earlier interview on ABS-CBN News Channel, when she said she was “very close” to her former driver/bodyguard.
Dayan collecting drug money ‘possible’
While not disclosing when the relationship with Dayan began, De Lima told Monsod it went on for a “few years” until they ended the affair before her senatorial bid.
She said Dayan had long been estranged from his wife.
In one of the House of Representatives inquiries on the alleged Bilibid drug trade, De Lima’s former bodyguard, Joenel Sanchez, claimed her relationship with Dayan ended in March 2015 after he got jealous with De Lima’s new bodyguard, whom he identified as Warren Cristobal.
She also admitted to helping Dayan financially, but not in the construction of his home in Urbiztondo, Pangasinan.
Dayan is being accused as De Lima’s bagman for the money from the drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison that she used to fund her 2016 senatorial bid. He had not been seen in his house in Urbiztondo since the controversy cropped up.
While De Lima said Dayan illicitly using her name to collect drug money is “within the realm of possibilities,” she remained doubtful, saying she would have known if it was true.
But the former justice secretary belied the allegation—which the president primarily propagates—that her campaign kitty came from drug money.
“Very clear ang instruction to the staff na huwag tayo basta-basta tumanggap galing sa hindi natin kilala, at least hindi natin alam ang background. Lalo na iyong ganyan, mga drug lords, mga convicts, mga sino mang notorious na mga tao. Hindi tayo pwedeng tumanggap diyan. Ang alam ko po, sinunod po iyan ng staff ko,” De Lima told Monsod.
She reiterated the disclosure she made in her statement of contributions and expenses (SOCE) before the Commission on Elections.
Her SOCE indicated she had spent P86,153,300.49 and received P86,831,095.19 from 190 individuals, making her the 14th biggest spender and 12th biggest recipient, respectively, among 2016 candidates.
One of her donors, who gave approximately P1,486,722, was her former husband, lawyer Plaridel Bohol II.
De Lima currently faces charges before the DOJ after she was implicated in the Bilibid drug trade during the House of Representatives inquiry, where some high-profile inmates testified that she protected the drug trade in exchange for money.
She had repeatedly denied the allegations, accusing instead the president of being vindictive as she opposed his bloody war on illegal drugs.