Why is De Lima not denying ‘driver-lover-bagman’ allegation?
What makes it so hard for Sen. Leila de Lima to deny that Ronnie Dayan (very much married at the time of their supposed dalliance) was her driver-lover who acted as her “bagman of senatorial campaign funds” collected from the drug lords detained at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP)? Her disclaimer, if true, could refute President Duterte’s charges against her, thereby making him appear as the bigger liar. But, alas, all she said was that she does not want to dignify the issue; hence her rather unusual reticence. Consequently, the more she evades the ugly rumor, the more it haunts her.
In what could be a futile attempt to get back at Mr. Duterte, De Lima presented Edgar Matobato as a surprise witness. Unwittingly, the move served as her last hurrah as chair of the Senate committee on justice and human rights that was investigating the drug-related extrajudicial killings (EJKs). Matobato’s detailed narration was loaded with inconsistencies and apparently false assertions about the atrocities and mass killings perpetrated in Davao City during the watch of then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
The incidents happened between 1998 and 2013—a period not covered by the Senate resolution that called for the investigation in aid of legislation. Yet how odd that De Lima, despite having headed the Department of Justice and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) then, did not file a case against Mr. Duterte. The inquiries were going out of bounds yet nowhere.
By now, one cannot help but speculate if De Lima’s real intention at the onset (in fielding the self-confessed hitman) was to picture Mr. Duterte as a vicious and cold-blooded killer. Was she out to discredit him, to induce drastic action from the CHR as well as countries being antagonized because of his independent stance as a sovereign nation? Were the public hearings (instead of an executive session) intended to invite the United Nations to meddle with our affairs? The situation can be exploited by his enemies to oust him from the presidency.
What many people despise, more than his swearing, is Mr. Duterte’s seemingly unorthodox tack in aggressively fighting an already pandemic drug trade and abuse situation. Society is shocked that he does not only bark, he also bites (hard). Would we prefer instead traditional politicians and government officials who will not change the status quo, further damaging our future, especially that of our youth—by default?
With several new witnesses giving significant testimonies incriminating her, De Lima now has the tables turned against her. How tried and tested this common knowledge that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Hence, the moment the weakest link gives way, the chain collapses. On the other hand, Mr. Duterte’s chain of indictments against her appears to be made of impregnable links and is becoming more solid each passing day.
—ARMANDO LIBRANDO ALPAY,