Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II yesterday welcomed the arrest of Ronnie Dayan, hoping that the former driver of Senator Leila de Lima will spill everything he knows about the illegal drugs activities at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).
Aguirre said Dayan is a significant piece of the puzzle in the ongoing preliminary investigation being conducted by the Department of Justice (DoJ) over criminal complaints filed against De Lima.
“His capture will tie up the loose ends and supply the missing links in the cases before the DoJ,” Aguirre said in a statement.
“It is also a chance for Mr. Dayan to clear his name so we encourage him to tell the whole truth of what he knows,” he pointed out.
De Lima, who has been accused of receiving drug money, had confirmed her relationship with Dayan in a recent televised interview.
Aguirre had earlier opened the possibility of Dayan turning state witness as long as he cooperates and is qualified to be placed under the DoJ’s Witness Protection Program (WPP).
Dayan has been tagged as De Lima’s bagman by convicted drug lords during congressional hearings.
After repeatedly ignoring summons for him to appear, the House issued a warrant of arrest against Dayan.
Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) director Chief Superintendent Roel Obusan informed the DoJ that Dayan was arrested at 11:30 a.m. yesterday in Sitio Turod, Barangay San Felipe, San Juan, La Union.
Dayan reportedly hid for two months in the mountain barangay of Lacung in the nearby town of San Gabriel where he built a shanty he shared with relatives, according to sources.
On Monday afternoon, Dayan went down from the mountain after sensing the presence of policemen in the area and went to the house of another relative in Guinguinabang where he was cornered by police operatives.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives will assume jurisdiction over Ronnie Dayan and will convene the Committee on Justice to decide whether it will re-open its probe of the alleged big-time drug trafficking operations at the New Bilibid Prison or have him testify before a sub-committee tasked to deliberate on bills pushing for correctional reforms.
This developed as Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who issued the arrest warrant on Dayan, described his capture in La Union as “good news.”
Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas said Dayan will be brought before the Speaker and will have to testify before the justice panel.
“He will be brought to the house of Representatives. I have instructed the SAA (sergeant-at-arms) Gen. Detabale to prepare his place of confinement, in coordination with the PNP (Philippine National Police),” he said.
However, Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso, vice chairman of the justice panel, said he will move for Dayan’s detention at the National Bureau of Investigation to ensure his protection.
Veloso said the House may detail security personnel at Dayan’s place of confinement as added security adding that the former De Lima driver’s testimony is being awaited by the Lower House. (ERWIN BELEO • JEFFREY DAMICOG • BEN ROSARIO)