Answer the charges

Who is Ronnie Dayan? And why has he not come forward, now that Senator Leila de Lima’s private life is once again in the news?

Dayan’s name was first revealed in an affidavit submitted two years ago by Sandra Cam, the former whistleblower in the illegal numbers game of jueteng, when she attempted to block the confirmation of then-Justice Secretary De Lima before the Commission on Appointments. Now that President Rodrigo Duterte has brought up the supposed links of De Lima’s driver to the illegal drug syndicates inside the New Bilibid Prison (without identifying Dayan by name) perhaps it’s time that someone finally sought him out.

According to Cam in 2014, Dayan, whom she claimed was 46 at the time, was an employee of the Department of Justice. Because of his illicit relationship with De Lima, Cam said, Dayan wielded a lot of influence in the department.

Dayan, Cam claimed, was able to secure the appointment of Rafael Ragos as deputy director of the National Bureau of Investigation in September 2011. The appointment of Ragos, whom Cam said was not even a lawyer, was protested by then-NBI Director Magtanggol Gatdula, to no avail.

In return, Ragos “supervised” the construction of a multi-million house for Dayan’s wife Norly Magallanes in Manapla, Negros Occidental, Cam alleged. Dayan supposedly built the house for Magallanes, who had been married to him since April 30, 1991, so that she would not complain about Dayan’s affair with De Lima. 

At the time, Cam claimed that Dayan had “substantial” deposits in the millions of pesos at the Land Bank of the Philippines branch on Padre Faura, Manila and the Bank of the Philippine Islands branch in Philcoa, Quezon City. Cam said Dayan also owned a farm in Barangay Galarin, Urbiztondo, Pangasinan that was bought for him by De Lima.

Just two months after Cam’s exposé, Dayan would be charged for allegedly indiscriminately firing a gun in Urbiztondo, where the farm is located. He was also accused of punching a policeman, identified as Ariel Hardinoza of the Alcala, Pangasinan police station, and threatening to kill a barangay watchman named Buddy Palisoc.

The Urbiztondo police vowed at the time that it would conduct a fair investigation of the incident involving Dayan. But nothing further was heard on the matter.

Cam also alleged that De Lima had an affair with Cesar Mancao, one of the police officers accused of pulling off the massacre of members of the Kuratong Baleleng robbery gang, while Mancao was under the government’s Witness Protection Program. But her opposition to De Lima’s confirmation on the grounds of her alleged lack of fitness for the justice secretary’s post was all for naught.

* * *

“Which is more serious, your claim that I kill criminals or your prison where they manufacture shabu, where women are allowed to enter, where they record albums and where there is a night club? How about the lives destroyed by these prisoners?” 

That was Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte railing against Justice Secretary De Lima in May last year. At the time, Duterte was not yet even being considered as a candidate for the 2016 elections—but he was already feuding publicly with De Lima, who accused the mayor of putting up the so-called Davao Death Squad of anti-crime vigilantes.

Duterte also accused De Lima of kidnapping former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in November 2011, when the latter was about to leave the Manila airport for medical treatment abroad. De Lima, according to Duterte, prevented Arroyo and her husband Jose Miguel from leaving the country even if, at the time, “there was no case yet [filed against Arroyo] in court.”

In that celebrated case, De Lima possessed no hold departure order or warrant of arrest against Arroyo, Duterte said. De Lima also ignored a temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court preventing her from stopping the Arroyos from leaving.

“We all know that one can be arrested only if there is a warrant of arrest and you cannot be stopped at the airport unless there is a hold departure order,” Duterte said. “Actually, what they did was they kidnapped or forced the Arroyos to go with them.”

De Lima at the time explained that “justice had been served” because she did not allow the former president to leave, despite claims from Arroyo’s camp of illegal detention and of depriving her of the right to travel. But De Lima said Arroyo could not be allowed to depart because the government was still planning to file charges against her—and days after Arroyo was prevented from leaving, an arrest warrant was indeed served on her at the hospital room where she had been detained. 

Why do I bring up all of this now? Simple: I want to know why De Lima has not, this late in the day, ever directly responded to the charges hurled against her by Cam, Duterte or anyone else.

Perhaps it’s about time that she did that, instead of just stonewalling (what she did during the Aquino years) and appealing to the public that she is being persecuted for doing her job as “fiscalizer” (her strategy now). How about it, Manay Leila?

Topics: Jojo Robles , Answer the charges , Ronnie Dayan , Leila de Lima , Sandra Cam
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