SENATOR Leila de Lima said she has already forgiven the drug lord Kerwin Espinosa for the lies he has told about her at the Senate.
“May God forgive you for all your sins, and may God forgive you for all your lies about me. And I forgive you,” De Lima said.
The senator also declined to question Espinosa on his judicial affidavit when he appeared before the Senate on Wednesday.
“I have no intention to ask questions from him, even if I want to because I think it would be a cross-examiner’s dream. But I feel that it would be pointless, useless, futile for me to do so given a very nice script, at least insofar as the portions of his testimony about me are concerned,” she said.
“But let me say to my colleagues here, and everyone in this hall, and to everyone listening and watching these proceedings. I say this to you: I categorically, firmly, and absolutely deny having known Mr. Kerwin Espinosa. I do not remember any instance or occasion of having met him,” De Lima added.
De Lima denied having received any money from Espinosa, either directly or indirectly through anyone else, on any occasion at any time, and whether the money was supposedly for either protection or fund-raising for her senatorial bid.
“Mr. Kerwin Espinosa knows that that part of his testimony about me having received money, having talked to him, having met him anywhere, whether it’s Burnham, anywhere, is total fabrication,” she said.
De Lima said he believes Espinosa’s testimony was made under duress.
At the same time, she decried that her former lover and bodyguard, Ronnie Dayan, has been turned by the administration against her.
De Lima is facing drug charges before the Justice department over the proliferation of illegal drugs inside the New Bilibid Prisons when she was still Justice secretary.
High-profile convicts at NBP had testified that Dayan received payoffs for De Lima’s senatorial campaign in exchange for protection on their drug operations.
De Lima branded as “absolutely untrue” the statements of Dayan that he received drug money from Espinosa on five occasions and gave them to her when she was still Justice secretary.
“I received money from Kerwin. I received money as instructed by ma’am. She was still Justice secretary at the time,” Dayan said in response to the query by House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas following his arrest in Barangay Locong, San Gariel town, La Union, on November 22.
But Dayan insisted he did not know the money was from drugs. He also denied reports he was involved in illegal drugs.
Dayan admitted that he and De Lima had an affair, which ended before she ran for the Senate.
“It’s true, we had a relationship for seven years,” said Dayan. He said his last contact with De Lima was shortly before the last senatorial election. He remembered De Lima called him and thanked him for his support. He helped in putting up election posters for the senator’s candidacy.
De Lima had earlier admitted she had an affair with Daysn, but maintained she was never involved in drugs or received payoffs from drug lords in the NBP or from Espinosa.
De Lima said Dayan was just forced to lie against her.
But Philippine National Police chief Director Gen. Ronald Dela Rosa said nobody was exerting pressure on Dayan.
“Ronnie’s claim is absolutely untrue. I don’t know Kerwin and neither does Ronnie. He knows that,” said De Lima, adding that Dayan was no longer employed with her during the time she had supposedly received the money from Espinosa.
She pointed out the contradicting media reports of the timeline that she had allegedly received the money. Some reports said that she received the money from Espinosa in October, November, and December 2015 while some said she got it in 2014.
“If it’s 2015, Ronnie was no longer employed under me. So how could I have ordered him to get money from Kerwin? But maybe, and as expected, Ronnie was already forced to lie,” also said De Lima.
De Lima said she has consistently challenged her accusers to bring their cases against her before the courts because she is prepared to prove her innocence before the proper forum.
“And even as they portrayed Ronnie Dayan as the missing link to their drug conspiracies, his arrest and so-called admissions on Tuesday night present an opportunity for me to put this issue to a close,” said De Lima.
“I still hope that the authorities, in the exercise of their duties, act within the bounds of the law, without abusing their powers and using force and intimidation on purported witnesses, including Ronnie Dayan,” she added.
She branded all accusations against her “fiction stories of the underworld” that were “weaved into a complete but grotesque tapestry.”
Regardless of the Goebel’s playbook that her accusers are following, De Lima said, a lie repeatedly told can never become the truth.
“Instead, the truth revealed will set us all free from this madness that we should stop from becoming our new normal,” De Lima added.