THE love was “pure” and was as intense as typhoon “Signal No. 5.”
But Ronnie Palisoc Dayan, the former driver, bodyguard and boyfriend of Sen. Leila de Lima, revealed on Thursday they broke up in January 2015 after a seven-year romantic relationship that was marred by slapping and persistent fights.
Dayan, who is married, made the testimony at the resumption of a probe at the House of Representatives on the illegal drug trade that ended up feasting on details of the former Justice secretary’s love affairs.
The audience snickered and giggled as more and more details of the affair emerged.
“In 2015, our relationship was going south. We were not happy anymore, we have been shouting at each other, we were always fighting. When I learned that her new boyfriend was Warren Cristobal … I slapped her, slightly,” Dayan said in Filipino.
The affair at that point had weakened to “Signal No. 1,” he said.
“I also felt that she was in a relationship with Joenel [Sanchez]. I was slightly jealous with him. Sabi ko sa kanya, uubusin mo ba kaming lahat na security mo [I told her, are you going to get involved romantically with all of your security aides]?”
Cristobal was an employee of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and Sanchez, a member of the Presidential Security Group. The two were de Lima’s bodyguards.
De Lima is single, with two sons from an annulled marriage. Lawmakers said de Lima, who is already facing disbarment complaints because of the affair, could also be charged with concubinage for having sexual relations with a married man.
Forced to quit
After the slapping incident, Dayan said he went to Pangasinan to blow off steam, and incurred a lot of absences in the process.
Less than a month after the fight, Dayan said de Lima told him to go back to the Justice department in Manila and sign his resignation papers. Dayan, however, argued that he did not receive any salary after January 15, 2015.
It was President Rodrigo Duterte who bared the de Lima-Dayan affair in August, claiming the senator, who was Justice chief in the previous administration, raised campaign funds from prison drug lords. Dayan was supposedly de Lima’s bagman.
De Lima denies getting money from drugs. On Thursday, Dayan also denied transacting with prison drug lords, and only admitted to collecting money from Eastern Visayas drug kingpin Rolando “Kerwin” Espinosa Jr. on behalf of de Lima.
Dayan also said he did not possess sex videos of himself and de Lima, or at least did not shoot them with his mobile phone.
It was de Lima’s turn to slap Dayan during the election campaign, when she saw him wearing a “Duterte” baller wristband. Despite the breakup, Dayan said he campaigned for de Lima.
“She asked, why are you wearing that? I said to her, he’s our idol in Pangasinan,” Dayan said, referring to his home province.
“Sabi nya, mag-a-idol ka na lang, siraulo pa. Sabi ko, walang basagan ng trip. Sabi niya, punyeta ka [She said I was idolizing somebody crazy. I said to her, you mind your own business. Then she cursed at me],” Dayan added.
Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro of Capiz quizzed Dayan if he was testifying against de Lima because he was a scorned lover, which Dayan denied.
Castro’s line of questioning elicited perhaps the most chuckling: “Ang ibig mo bang sabihin sa pagdinig na ito na ang iyong relasyon kay Secretary de Lima ay hindi lamang upang saluhan siya at magtampisaw sa pagmamahalan kundi siya ay saluhan din sa pagpawi ng init ng katawan [Do you mean to say in this inquiry that your relationship with Secretary de Lima was not only to partake of and wade in a romantic affair, but also to join her in the heat of passion]?”
Dayan answered “yes.”
But he told the House justice committee he was willing to betray de Lima in the name of rule of law.
“My love for her was pure, but she did not give me the same kind of love. I slapped her because I loved her,” Dayan said.
“Alang-alang po sa batas, sir, pwede ko siya ipagkanulo [In the name of the law, sir, I can betray her],” Dayan added.