By Ben Rosario
The House of Representatives will assume jurisdiction over Ronnie Dayan, the former driver of Senator Leila De Lima, following his capture in La Union on Tuesday, November 22.
Dayan was arrested in Sitio Turod, Barangay San Felipe in San Juan, La Union by various police units Tuesday morning. ABS-CBN News reports that he surrendered.
The House justice committee will also be convened to decide whether to reopen its probe on the alleged drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison or have him testify before a sub-committee tasked to deliberate on bills pushing for correctional reforms.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who issued the arrest warrant on Dayan, described his capture in La Union as “good news.”
Majority leader Rodolfo Fariñas said Dayan will be brought before the Speaker and will have to testify before the justice panel.
“I have instructed the (sergeant-at-arms), Gen. [Roland] Detabali, to prepare his place of confinement, in coordination with the PNP,” he said.
But Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso, vice chairman of the justice panel, would recommend for Dayan’s detention at the National Bureau of Investigation to ensure his protection.
Veloso said the justice committee has only “two or three days” to resume its probe on Bilibid drug trafficking operations and secure Dayan’s testimony.
Alvarez ordered Dayan’s arrest upon recommendation of the justice committee after he failed to show up in the hearings last month despite being issued written invitations and subpoenas.
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption even announced a P1-million bounty for leads on his whereabouts.
During last month’s committee hearings, at least four Bilibid inmates and two NBI agents implicated Dayan and De Lima to the proliferation of narcotics operations at the national penitentiary while she was justice secretary.
The House panel terminated the NBP drug probe but decided to allow the sub-committee on correctional reforms chaired by Rep. Henry Oaminal to continue an inquiry into NBP irregularities.
The justice panel found there is enough evidence to pin De Lima and Dayan’s involvement in the NBP drug mess but declined to recommend the filing of criminal charges against them.
Senior deputy minority leader Lito Atienza chided the committee for refusing to make the recommendation even as he aired suspicions that her political allies at the Liberal Party have apparently influenced the decision.
The justice panel is chaired by Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali, a former LP stalwart.
Oaminal said the committee decision, in effect, gave the sub-committee the task of grilling Dayan as soon as he is arrested.
De Lima recently confirmed the testimonies of at least three NBP convicts when she recently confessed on national television that she, indeed” had romantic affair with her former driver whom she claimed to be separated from his wife.