Ronnie Dayan, Senator Leila de Lima's former driver and alleged bagman, is being protected by high-ranking officials in northern Luzon, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre claimed Wednesday.
"We were told that Ronnie Dayan is being protected by some high public officials in his home province of Pangasinan and other northern provinces up to Baguio. Diyan siya nagtatago, diyan siya nagpapa-lipat-lipat," Aguirre said in a press briefing at Malacañang.
Dayan has not been seen in public since President Rodrigo Duterte in August slammed De Lima, his staunch critic in the Senate, for allegedly having an illicit affair with her married driver.
The President has claimed Dayan accepted campaign contributions from illegal drug traders.
An arrest warrant has been issued against Dayan after he failed to appear in the House inquiry on the illegal drug trade in New Bilibid Prison.
Aguirre said the National Bureau of Investigation has been conducting a manhunt operation for Dayan since then, but the investigating body came up short.
He is hopeful however, that the P1-million bounty for information on the whereabouts of Dayan can move them forward better.
"I hope that with the P1-million reward for whoever will be instrumental in the arrest of Ronnie Dayan, palagay ko malaki ang mangyayaring epekto niyan and hopefully, we will be able to get him," he said.
Aguirre said they are "offering the protection" of the Witness Protection Program (WPP) to Dayan and other witnesses who may lead to the big officials linked in the drug trade like Kerwin Espinosa, "as long as they are cooperative and that they will be qualified to be admitted under our witness protection program."