Get real
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 26 November 2016


What a complete embarrassment that House committee hearing on Thursday was to the country, which had to suffer through so much drivel, and sophomoric questions asked repeatedly, because members were absent when others were questioning. Except for a few, the House members seemed to appear only for their five minutes in the glare of the TV camera. Pathetic.

The hearing was supposed to shed light on the drug situation in Bilibid—in aid of legislation, wasn’t it?   Yet so much time was spent asking Ronnie Dayan the details of his love affair with Sen. Leila de Lima, complete with snickering as he complied. The question of the sex video featuring the couple was asked over and over again (didn’t this newspaper already establish that the video was lifted from a porn movie in which was superimposed the head of De Lima?). And when Dayan denied any knowledge of filming it, they managed to pressure him into admitting that it could have been filmed, anyway. Good grief.

Then they argued with Dayan over his testimony—not about his love life, which they lapped up—but about why, being that close to De Lima, he didn’t know more about her drug activities. As if it had been established that she had drug activities. Zilch.

Dayan, in fact, completely belied the testimonies of the drug convicts of Bilibid who had implicated De Lima. Good sense would suggest that these testimonies should be open to question, because most of the inmates are there for long periods, if not for life, under the complete control of the Department of Justice, and they are obviously willing to do or say anything to get some benefits. But no, it was not the testimony of the inmates that were incredible to the House; it was the testimony of Dayan.

And as to Kerwin Espinosa and Dayan, whose testimonies should have supported each other, because they admitted to knowing each other, there were glaring inconsistencies. One had to do with the timing: Espinosa (in the Senate) said he gave his contributions for the De Lima campaign to Dayan in 2015, I think between January and July. But Dayan said he met Espinosa five times in 2014, between August and November.

To me this indicates that Espinosa was scripted, and the ones who scripted him and prepared him did not know (how could they have known?) that Dayan left De Lima’s employ in January or February 2015. Espinosa testified before Dayan was arrested, so no chance to clean up the details? Oops!

Then there is the Baguio incident, purporting to show that Espinosa knew De Lima. Espinosa in the Senate even showed the blown-up picture of himself, his wife and De Lima, supposedly taken in Burnham Park.

But in one of the enlightened moments in the House hearing, the interpellation by an unknown congressman (the TV stations didn’t provide the names, unfortunately) elicited facts from Dayan that: 1) He and Espinosa supposedly met at the Mall of Asia, except for the last (November) meeting. Apparently, the two of them decided on Baguio, and also apparently, Dayan could tell De Lima where to go. 2) But Dayan did not have Espinosa’s number, so how could they have coordinated the date and specific place of the meeting? Convoluted answer. 3) How did he know when and where to meet at Burnham Park, without communication links with Espinosa?  Convoluted answer. By this time, Dayan was holding his head, clearly uncomfortable with the questioning.

The congressman finally said something like the script not being streamlined (“yung script, mukhang hindi planchado”). Never truer words were said.

You know, Reader, in a way, the House did us a favor. Why? Because it had ordered the arrest of Dayan. So, when he was arrested, there was very little time for the Department of Justice officials, such as Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, to talk to him about details. And so, before all of us, all the inconsistencies came out. They will probably fix things in the future. But at least we get an idea of how far they are willing to go to transform De Lima in our eyes from an upright, incorruptible election and human rights lawyer to a drug queen.