MANILA - Senator Leila de Lima said Thursday she does not believe that her former driver and bodyguard received kickbacks from drug lords, as Congress resumed its hearings on the illegal narcotics trade.
De Lima said Ronnie Dayan and Jonel Sanchez, who were both invited to Thursday's hearing, could only be "pressured" to admitting that they received drug money.
"These allegations about frequenting Bilibid and taking money, I don’t believe that," De Lima told Karen Davila on ANC's "Headstart."
"But then again, 100 percent sure or absolutely sure, I cannot say that. I can only be 100 percent or absolutely sure about myself," she said.
Dayan, according to President Rodrigo Duterte, was De Lima's lover aside from serving as her driver. He has not been seen in public since the President linked him to the illegal drug trade in August.
"They can always do things in order to compel him and to convince him to turn against me, to testify against me, and to also concoct lies especially in relation to that issue of my alleged drug links because I maintain firmly and up to my last breath, I maintain innocence," De Lima said of Dayan.
"I did not receive a single centavo from the drug trade in the same manner that I that I did not receive a single centavo from any act of corruption because I am not that person. I am not like that," she said.
De Lima said, Dayan could have built a big house in his hometown of Urbiztondo, Pangasinan with the help of a sister whose husband works abroad.
She said, she would also give small amounts to Dayan "to assist" him.
"As I am telling you, I don’t believe that he is collecting money. Definitely, whether or not he is collecting money, I don’t know about that. I did not know about that," she added.
She said, she also does not believe that allegations of convict Herbert Colanggo that Sanchez, her bodyguard, got P3-million from him monthly.
"Just like Ronnie Dayan, I also do not believe that Jonel Sanchez was doing that. And whether or not that’s true, again, I have nothing to do with that. I don’t know anything about that," she said.
Sanchez was placed under government custody last September due to “security concerns.”
She revealed that she has received reports from "very reliable sources" that Sanchez, a former member of the Presidential Security Group, was being "forced to testify" against her.
"He and his wife who is also part of PSG were taken to the PSG headquarters. They were trying to convince and few days later, he was brought to the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation)," she said.
"That’s my report and I don’t have reason to doubt that report," she added.
The PSG has since denied De Lima's claim.