Even without the testimonies of driver-bodyguard Ronnie Dayan and suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, the government still believes it has built a strong case against senator Leila de Lima.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said they have gathered “sufficient” testimonial evidence against De Lima but will still welcome any additional information from the two possible witnesses.
Espinosa, son of slain Albuera town mayor Ronald Espinosa who was arrested in Abu Dhabi is expected to arrive today while Dayan, also the alleged bagman of De Lima, is still being hunted down by authorities.
The fact that De Lima admitted her relationship with Dayan will already lead to the strengthening of their case against the neophyte senator.
Dayan is supposedly being protected by some public officials in northern Luzon provinces such as Pangasinan and Baguio. A P1-million reward has been offered by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) for information leading to the arrest of Dayan.
“Dyan siya nagtatago, diyan siya nagpapalipat-lipat but I hope that with the 1 million pesos reward for whoever will be instrumental in the arrest of Ronnie Dayan will, it will, palagay ko malaki ang mangyayaring epekto niyan and hopefully we will be able to get him,” Aguirre said.
Despite the refusal of the Ombudsman to take action, Aguirre said the Department of Justice has already received four drug complaints against De Lima.
A five-man panel of prosecutors have started to look into the complaints against De Lima in connection with the alleged proliferation of illegal drugs in the NBP.
“Pagkatapos namin dito, the ball will now be in the court of the Ombudsman,” added Aguirre.
Meantime, Aguirre said Espinosa would be temporarily detained at the custodial center in Camp Crime and that he already informed Philippine National Police chief Gen. Ronald dela Rosa about the willingness of the National Bureau of Investigation to provide protective custody for Espinosa.
“We were told that Kerwin was very much fearful for his life as well as the lives of his common-law wife and children,” said Aguirre. (GENALYN D. KABILING)