De Lima alleged driver-lover dared to surface, clear name

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 22 2016 06:37 PM | Updated as of Aug 22 2016 08:15 PM

Malacanang remains uncertain whether or not Ronnie Palisoc Dayan, the former driver and alleged lover of Senator Leila De Lima, will testify against the senator after the president's dare on Sunday.

"Ayun po ang sinabi ng Pangulo. He said that during the interview, na pwedeng maging witness itong si Ronnie, but I will find out from the President, from him at the Cabinet meeting later," PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar said in an interview with ANC's Headstart on Monday.

In a televised news conference at the presidential guest house in Davao City President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday dared Dayan to explain how he was able to afford a big house on his meager salary.

Duterte earlier claimed De Lima was having an illicit affair with her married driver, and accused the driver of collecting money from the detained drug suspects inside the New Bilibid Prison, adding that he was De Lima's representative when she was still the Justice Secretary.

The Senator said the President's attacks showed an "abuse and misuse of executive power" and warned that her fate could befall anyone who opposes the tough-talking leader.

But Andanar maintained that with this recent revelation concerning a sitting senator, it only shows that Duterte's anti-drug campaign excuses no one.

"If the President sees, if there’s evidence that links you or your alleged ex-lover to drug syndicates, then nobody is excused. Even the generals, even the high-level drug lords have been mentioned," he said.

He maintained, Duterte was merely stating facts when he slammed De Lima in what was perceived as an anti-feminist remark.

"The president was merely stating the facts and laying down the legal bases of his argument by saying na hindi naman kaya ng isang driver na pumunta ng Bilibid prison at sabihin na ‘ito ang gawin ninyo at bigyan ako ng pera’ kung walang koneksyon sa mas makapangyarihang tao," he said.

He added, the media failed to explain that though Duterte himself had relationships, he was single and presumably, his partners were also single.

"Sinabi ng pangulo that this Ronnie is married, so therefore, it’s illegal, it’s a criminal act. It’s just laying down the basis of legal argument, and connecting Ronnie to drugs inside the New Bilibid Prison," said Andanar.