De Lima got P8-M drug cash through Dayan, says Kerwin

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 23 2016 12:43 PM | Updated as of Nov 23 2016 01:00 PM

MANILA - Kerwin Espinosa, self-confessed narcotics lord of Eastern Visayas, claimed he gave a total of P8 million in drug payoffs to Senator Leila de Lima through her former driver, Ronnie Dayan.

At a Senate hearing, Espinosa said Dayan called him in August 2015 to solicit money for the campaign kitty of De Lima, then secretary of justice, in exchange for protecting his drug dealings.

In the presence of De Lima, Espinosa narrated: "Noong time na nasa Batangas ako, nagda-diving ako sa Anilao, may tumawag sa akin sa cellphone ko, si [Albuera police chief] Sir Jovie Espenido. Sabi niya sa akin, may gustong kumausap sa akin na driver-bodyguard ni Ma'am Leila de Lima. Tinanong ko si Sir Jovie, ano ba pag-uusapan namin. Sabi sa akin ni Sir Jovie, kayo na lang mag-usap."

"'Pag tapos ng mga tatlong oras, tumawag sa akin na napagkilalang driver-bodyguard daw sya ni Ma'am De Lima... Pinapasabi raw sa akin ni Ma'am Leila na kailangan daw ng pondo para sa 2016 election," he added.

Espinosa said he told Dayan that he will consider the offer and consulted his associates, Jeffrey "Jaguar" Diaz, alleged drug trafficker in Cebu province, and convicted crime lord Peter Co, their alleged drug supplier.

"Kinonfirm ko sa dalawang taong malalaki, nag-confirm naman sila sa akin na totoo na hindi ka talaga iiwan niyan sa ere 'pag nagkaroon ka ng problema," he said.

With the go signal of his associates, Espinosa said he started negotiating with De Lima's aide.

Dayan, he said, initially demanded P2 million every month but lowered the demand to P750,000 after haggling.

Espinosa said he personally handed the first "goodwill" payment of P2 million to Dayan at a mall in Pasay.

He said it was after this that their original arrangement was cancelled, after Dayan said that he would just need to give a total of P8 million before the May 2016 elections.

For his second drug remittance, Espinosa said he gave P1.7 million to Dayan at a restaurant on Macapagal Boulevard in Pasay in October 2015.

He added that it was only then that Dayan, whom he only knew as "Ronnie", gave his full name.

At that time, Espinosa said he had doubts that his alleged bribes were reaching De Lima, so he requested a meeting with the officials.

He claimed he met De Lima the next month at Burnham Park in Baguio City, as arranged by Dayan. Espinosa said he and his family even took a picture with the justice secretary.

He said he also gave a paper bag containing money to Dayan at the park.

"Na-kumpleto ko yung sinabi ni Ronnie na magbigay ako ng P8 million bago mag-eleksyon," Espinosa said, adding that he did not ask De Lima for any favor since his drug business was going smoothly.

Aside from the three instances where he allegedly gave campaign funds for De Lima, Espinosa said he also gave P2.3 million to Dayan last February 2015.

De Lima has denied the accusation that she received drug money from Espinosa through Dayan.

Dayan has claimed he turned over money from Kerwin to De Lima five times in 2014, or 2 years before the 2016 elections.

But De Lima said Dayan was no longer under her employ then.

"Ronnie’s claim is absolutely untrue. I don’t know Kerwin and neither does Ronnie. He knows that," she said.

"How could I have ordered him to get money from Kerwin? Kaya lang, syempre, and as expected, napilitan na rin si Ronnie magsinungaling,” she added.

Dayan is set to testify at a House of Representatives inquiry on Thursday morning.