Ronnie Dayan, De Lima’s former aide, denies getting P10-M 'drug money' from Ragos

Published May 13, 2022, 8:04 PM

by Jonathan Hicap

Ronnie Dayan, the former security aide of detained Senator Leila de Lima, has denied getting P10 million from Rafael Ragos, former Bureau of Corrections officer-in-charge and the star witness of the prosecution.

Ragos earlier recanted his statements against Dayan and De Lima.

Dayan attended a hearing at the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court Branch 204 on May 13 for case No. 17-165 filed by the Department of Justice in 2017, which charged him and De Lima of conspiring to commit illegal drug trading.

Ronnie Dayan at the Muntinlupa Hall of Justice in 2019 (Jonathan Hicap)

During the hearing, Dayan was presented as the first witness in the case, which accused him and De Lima of receiving P10 million on Nov. 24, 2012 and Dec. 15, 2012. The money allegedly came from the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) inmates who were involved in trading and trafficking of dangerous drugs.

In previous testimonies and affidavits, Ragos said he delivered the P10 million to De Lima’s residence in Paranaque on the said dates.

However, in an affidavit dated April 30, Ragos recanted all his testimonies, affidavits and statements against De Lima and Dayan, claiming he never delivered money to them.

After the hearing, Dayan’s lawyer, Haidee Soriano, said her client did not finish his testimony as the government prosecutors need to secure a certified true copy of the transcript of the House of Representatives inquiry in 2016 about the proliferation of illegal drugs at NBP, which is being used as basis for cross examination during the trial.

Soriano said during the hearing, Dayan affirmed his judicial affidavit dated Jan. 20, 2017, prepared by his lawyer, in which he denied getting the P10 million from Ragos.

Dayan said those dates mentioned by Ragos were Saturdays, the time when he would go to Pangasinan. He said he would be in Pangasinan every Friday night and go back to Manila every Sunday night.

Dayan added there was only one instance when Ragos visited De Lima’s house during which he was present. He said on that day, Ragos was with his wife and he did not give him any money.

In his affidavit, Dayan alleged that it was Rep. Rey Umali who forced him to testify against De Lima during the 2016 House inquiry. Umali was the chairman of the House Committee on Justice, which conducted the hearing about the illegal drugs trade in NBP.

“Kasi po noong sinabi ko sa kanya na wala akong nalalaman tungkol sa Bilibid Drug Trade, sinabi po niya sa akin na dugtungan ko na lang ang testimony ni Kerwin Espinosa (Because when I told him that I did not know anything about the Bilibid Drug Trade, he told me to just build upon the testimony of Kerwin Espinosa),” Dayan said in the judicial affidavit.

Dayan said he did not know Espinosa who claimed that he gave to Dayan the money earned from illegal drug trade for the senatorial campaign of De Lima.

“Pinilit lang po ako ni Cong. Rey Umali na umamin na tumatanggap ako ng pera kay Kerwin Espinosa na galing sa bentahan ng droga (No. I was forced by Cong. Rey Umali to admit that I received from Kerwin Espinosa money that came from the sale of drugs),” he said.

He said during that time, he was being guarded by armed police while inside a holding room at the Batasang Pambansa. Dayan was arrested in La Union and was brought to the House of Representatives.

“Ginawan po nila ako ng salaysay. May abogado doon si Cong. Rey Umali na di ko matandaaan ang pangalan at siya po ang gumawa ng salaysay ko na pinapirmahan nila sa akin bago ako naupo sa committee hearing (They made an affidavit for me. Cong. Rey Umali had a lawyer there whose name I could no longer recall and he was the one who prepared my affidavit which they asked me to sign before I sat at the committee hearing),” he said.