VOLUNTEERS Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) founding chairman Dante Jimenez on Tuesday said his group was willing to turn over the P1-million reward it had raised for the capture of Ronnie Palisoc Dayan, the former driver-bodyguard who allegedly collected drug money for Sen. Leila de Lima.
Jimenez, in an interview, said Dayan’s arrest Tuesday morning was an important development in the probe into the illegal drug operations at the New Bilibid Prison.
Dayan, he said, would be able to validate the testimonies of convicts during the hearing of the House Committee on Justice, where the former driver-bodyguard was tagged as the “bagman” of de Lima, the secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the previous administration.
“All witnesses of the House Justice committee identified Dayan as the bagman of de Lima, that is why he is a very important personality. We value him,” Jimenez said.
But Jimenez said the progress of the case would depend on whether Dayan would cooperate with authorities and tell everything on de Lima’s alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade.
“That is up to him, if he will give more weight on his feelings for de Lima or if he wants to tell the truth,” Jimenez added.
De Lima has admitted that she had a romantic relationship with Dayan. But she denies getting payoffs from drug syndicates.
Jimenez said the P1-million reward money would be given to the individual responsible for providing information that led to the capture of Dayan. The reward money can be claimed from VACC volunteer lawyer Ferdie Topacio, he said.
Loose ends, missing links
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd on Tuesday said Dayan’s arrest would allow the former driver-bodyguard to shed light on the Bilibid drug trade.
“His capture will tie up the loose ends and supply the missing links in the cases before the DOJ. It is also a chance for Mr. Dayan to clear his name so we encourage him to tell the whole truth of what he knows,” Aguirre said in a statement.
Aguirre said he was open to getting Dayan as a state witness.
“Under the rules, he should not be the most guilty – not necessarily the least guilty among the accused or respondents – in the offense charged for him to qualify in the Witness Protection Program,” Aguirre said.