By Jeffrey Damicog
Alleged drug lord Rolando “Kerwin” Espinosa Jr. and Senator Leila de Lima’s former lover and alleged bagman Ronnie Dayan will be placed provisionally under the witness protection program (WPP) pending approval, Justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said.
Now that the two men gave their testimonies about payoffs made to de Lima, Aguirre said the Department of Justice will provide protection to both even though they are not yet under the WPP.
Their sworn affidavits will be evaluated and studied, Aguirre said, to determine if they are qualified to become state witness and placed under the WPP free from criminal prosecution.
Once placed under full coverage of the WPP, Dayan and Espinosa will receive the following benefits:
- secure housing facilities that could be extended to any member of the family
- financial assistance
- assistance in obtaining means of livelihood
- being paid equivalent to the salary in case he needs to be absent
- traveling expenses
- free medical treatment
- death benefits
- free education for children up to college in the event the witness died
Espinosa, who had a warrant of arrest after being indicted of weapons and drug charges, was arrested last October 17 in Abu Dhabi for violating the country’s immigration laws.
Dayan, meanwhile was captured by police in La Union last November 22 based on the warrant issued by the House justice committee that cited him in contempt for ignoring its summons to attend its hearings involving the investigation on the proliferation of illegal drugs at the New Bilibid Prison.
Espinosa had earlier sought to be placed under the WPP as a condition for his return to the Philippines. Dayan asked for the same protection after being held in Congress.
Espinosa, tagged as one of the biggest drug lords in Eastern Visayas testified before the Senate that he handed a total of P8 million to de Lima through Dayan, mentioning their rendezvous at Burnham Park in Baguio City to hand over De Lima’s alleged kickback.
Dayan also testified at the House of Representatives and confirmed many points in Espinosa’s testimony, including having received packages containing money.
Tags: Department of Justice, Kerwin Espinosa, Kerwin Ronnie to get provisional witness protection, Manila Bulletin, Philippine news, Rolando "Kerwin" Espinosa Jr., Ronnie Dayan, Vitaliano Aguirre II, Witness Protection Program, WPP