Dayan: De Lima urged me to skip probe, hide

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Ronnie Dayan's daughter, Hannah Mae, showed the supposed text message from Sen. Leila de Lima asking Dayan to go into hiding and skip the House hearings.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Ronnie Dayan, Senator Leila de Lima's former driver and bodyguard, on Thursday said it was no less than the embattled senator who stopped him from testifying at the House probe on illegal drug operations in the New Bilibid Prison.

Dayan, in his four-page sworn affidavit presented during the House probe on Thursday, said De Lima ordered him to skip the hearings despite a summon and go into hiding instead.

Dayan said he first wanted to attend the probe, and asked his daughter, Hannah Mae, to inform De Lima about it.

"I-text mo si Madam, kunin mo yung opinion niya kasi dumating na yung subpoena, napirmahan ng auntie mo. Sabihin mo a-attend ako (Text Madam, ask her opinion about the subpoena received by your aunt. Tell her, I'll attend)," Dayan recalled telling his daughter last October 1.

It was the same day his sister, Elmita Torreta, received the subpoena served by the police in Urbiztondo, Pangasinan.

De Lima allegedly replied to the text message, saying, "Huwag siyang umattend diyan, pagkakaguluhan lang siya diyan," Dayan said. "Pagtatawanan lang kaming dalawa, magiging kahiya-hiya kami diyan na dalawa."

[Translation: He should not attend. We will be both ridiculed, we will be embarrassed.]

Another text message supposedly from De Lima read: "Pakisabi sa kanya, magtago na lang muna siya.

[Translation: Tell him to go into hiding.]

Read: Dayan held in contempt by House committee

De Lima also allegedly said it was all part of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez's scheme, as ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas asked Hannah Mae to show the messages on her phone to the media. The sender was registered "TL," which stands for "Tita Lai," which is how she calls De Lima. Some members of the House also confirmed De Lima's number.

Dayan said he asked his daughter to talk to De Lima on his behalf because De Lima had been ignoring his messages.

But when De Lima was no longer responding even to his daughter's messages, he decided to go into hiding, Dayan said. He went from one hiding place to another, until he was arrested in La Union on Tuesday.

Lawmakers expect Dayan's testimony to tie up loose ends in the House probe on the Bilibid drug trade as several witnesses have named him as De Lima's bagman, who allegedly collected money from drug lords inside the national penitentiary for then Justice Secretary De Lima's 2016 senatorial campaign.

DOJ: De Lima liable for obstruction of justice

The Department of Justice mulls filing charges against De Lima for barring Dayan’s testimony when she allegedly told Dayan to skip the probe.

“The law violated by Sen. De Lima is the Rules of Court in contempt. It is an obstruction of justice on the part of the Senator,” Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre said.

De Lima, however, was still in a no-show in Thursday's hearing. This caught the ire of House Committee on Justice Chair Reynaldo Umali who called her disrespectful for ignoring the summons.

"You must give Congress the respect it rightfully deserves even if you are member of a co-equal chamber," Umali said.

Despite missing the hearing, De Lima in a statement hit Alvarez for calling her a "serial liar."

"Malinaw naman na ang tono ni Ginoong Alvarez ay kapareho rin ng kanyang Mahal na Poong Duterte. Naging bukambibig na nila ang husgahan at hiyain ako sa publiko kahit imbento lang naman ang kanilang mga ebidensya," De Lima said.

[Translation: "It's clear that the tone of Alvarez is the same as Duterte's. They judge and put me to shame even though their evidence are all fabricated."]