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Kerwin at Senate today

The Senate public order and dangerous drugs committee that will hear today the testimony of alleged drug lord Kerwin Espinosa will treat beleaguered Sen. Leila de Lima with respect nor will it put her to shame.

This was the assurance of Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson, committee chairman, after receiving word that she would attend today’s public hearing but asked that she should not put her to shame on the alleged payola of Espinosa and his slain father, Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa.

Queried whether or not the lady senator has received P8 million from Kerwin reportedly for her senatorial bid in the May 2016 national elections, Lacson replied: “Different tranches pero ang total R8 million ang nabigay.’’

Lacson was interviewed while preparing his defense of the budgets of specific departments of the Executive branch and other government offices on the Senate floor.

The Espinosa hearing came as word from the Philippine National Police (PNP) that Ronnie Dayan, De Lima’s alleged lover/driver during her days as Department of Justice (DoJ) secretary, was arrested in La Union province and was scheduled to be transported to the PNP headquarters in Quezon City.

Whether Dayan would be invited to the same hearing is not yet clear as Lacson said the House of Representatives has the first crack at Dayan.

Dayan was arrested based on the warrant of the House of Representatives that had conducted a probe on nation-wide illegal drug operations.

Based on Kerwin’s draft affidavit, Lacson said Kerwin has a direct “pakikipag-ugnayan’’ (relationship) with Dayan.

The House investigation heard testimonies that Dayan collected drug money from National Bilibid Prisons (NBP) high-profile inmates to bankroll De Lima’s senatorial campaign.

“Wala namang magpapahiya sa kanyang kapwa senador. Pero siyempre tatanungin si Kerwin,’’ he said.

Lacson suggested that De Lima should be ready to whatever Kerwin would say but it is up to her to attend the hearing or not.

“Kung mag-attend siya, at kung halimbawa may sasabihin si Kerwin na laban sa kanya, dapat ready rin siya na ipaliwanag ang kanyang side,’’ he said.

Lacson said Kerwin maintains that he has “no blue book’’ because he deals mostly on a regional basis which is Region 8.

The alleged assailants of his father are police officials belonging to PNOP Region 8 “which is speculative but nonetheless circumstantial,’’ he added. (MARIO CASAYURAN)