MANILA - Senator Leila de Lima's admission that she had a romantic relationship with her former security aide, Ronnie Dayan, bolsters allegations that she has ties with the Bilibid drug trade, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said Tuesday.
De Lima is facing multiple charges for allegedly receiving millions of pesos in drug payoffs from convicted crime kingpins when she was still Justice secretary. Tagged in the complaints is Dayan, whom President Duterte earlier dubbed as the senator's bagman.
De Lima admitted Monday that she had been in a relationship with Dayan for a few years and that they broke up before she ran for the Senate.
Speaking to radio DZMM, Aguirre said De Lima's admission corroborates her alleged drug ties and refutes her earlier accusation that the government is merely fabricating stories against her.
"Napakalaking epekto niyan [sa kaso]. Alam mo kung bakit? Sapagkat kapag tatanungin mo si Senator De Lima tungkol sa mga akusasyon sa kanya ng mga apat na kaso sa Department of Justice, palaging sinasabi niya na ako ang nagma-manufacture ng mga ebidensya against her. Samantalang wala naman akong pakialam sa pagfa-file nun sapagkat kami, ang ginagawa lang namin ay imbestigahan," he said.
"Ngayon, inamin na niya so iyung probability na talagang si Dayan ay isa sa mga bagman niya o taga-kolekta niya ng drug money para sa kanyang kapakanan at para sa kanyang eleksyon ay napakalaki na."
(That has a significant effect on the case because when you ask Senator De Lima about the four cases filed against her before the DOJ, she would always say that I was the one who manufactured evidence against. But I have no hand in the filing of the case because our job is to investigate.)
(She has admitted the relationship so the probability that Dayan was really her bagman or collector of drug money has increased.)
Since the controversy erupted, Dayan has not been seen in his residence in Urbiztondo, Pangasinan.
De Lima has repeatedly denied the allegation that she is receiving drug money, saying the charges are the administration's payback for her vocal opposition to its brutal war on drugs.
The senator launched last week a "legal offensive" against the alleged smear campaign against her by slapping Duterte with a petition for habeas data, a legal remedy to secure information related to a person whose life or liberty is at risk.