MANILA - Senator Leila de Lima's former bodyguard on Thursday bolstered allegations that she had an affair with her ex-driver, who is accused of receiving kickbacks from detained drug lords.
Joenel Sanchez, who is under government custody, detailed to lawmakers the "unusual closeness" between De Lima and Ronnie Dayan.
Sanchez, who worked for De Lima for five years until May 2015, also claimed that the then justice secretary and her driver recorded their sexual acts with a mobile phone.
He claimed that another driver, whom he identified as Bantam, showed to him Dayan's mobile phone, where the alleged "sex video" was kept. De Lima has repeatedly denied filming such a video.
“Madalas din kaming pumunta sa bahay ni SOJ De lima sa Bicol at kapansin-pansin ang sweetness nila. Habang kami ay bumibiyahe papuntang probinsya, sila po ay nagsusubuan ng nilagang saging saba [We often went to SOJ De Lima’s house in Bicol and their sweetness is noticeable. While travelling to the province, they would feed each other boiled bananas],” Sanchez said.
“Kami rin ay pumupunta sa bahay ni Ronnie Dayan sa Urbiztondo, Pangasinan kasama si SOJ De Lima at ‘pag birthday ni Ronnie Dayan tuwing last week ng December ay pumupunta si SOJ De Lima at doon na nagpapaabot ng New Year [We would also visit Ronnie Dayan’s house in Urbiztondo, Pangasinan with De Lima. On Dayan’s birthdays during the last week of December, she would stay there until New Year]," he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte first revealed the alleged affair in August and claimed that Dayan was De Lima's "link" to detained drug lords.
Sanchez claimed the alleged affair ended in March 2015 after Dayan got jealous with a new bodyguard, whom he identified as Warren Cristobal.
Cristobal, who replaced Dayan as head of their team, also grew unusually close to De Lima, who gifted him with an expensive gun, Sanchez claimed.
Sanchez also addressed accusations that he received kickbacks from the drug payoffs that Dayan and De Lima allegedly collected from convicted crime bosses.
Sanchez said he started coming to the New Bilibid Prisons in November 2013, to seek De Lima’s help in the case of inmate Vic Mercado, the aging father of his colleague.
In October 2014, Sanchez claimed Mercado introduced him to Reynante Diaz, the “manager” of high-profile inmate Herbert Colanggo, who earlier claimed he raised millions of pesos to help fund De Lima's senatorial campaign.
Sanchez said he often delivered Colanggo’s “letter requests” and concert invites to De Lima.
He also admitted that he has received a total of P15,000 from Colanggo’s manager in three instances.
Sanchez said De Lima fired him in May 2015, after he sought the help of Oriental Mindoro Governor Alfonso Umali Jr. for his father’s medical expenses. The governor is the brother of House committee on justice chairman Reynaldo Umali, who is leading the probe into the drug-swamped prison.
After his stint with De Lima, Sanchez said he was recalled by the Presidential Security Group (PSG) and was assigned to the area security team of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.