Duterte: De Lima affair with driver 'gave rise' to NBP corruption

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte said Sunday that Sen. Leila de Lima's romantic affair with her former driver and bodyguard, Ronnie Dayan, "gave rise" to corruption at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP).

In a media briefing in Davao City, Mr. Duterte said conversations intercepted with the help of a country friendly to the Philippines showed proof of the affair and of Dayan's role in the spread of drugs, alcohol and other illegal contraband at the NBP. He emphasized, however, that these conversations were inadmissible in a legal case against de Lima.

The president's revelation came a day after Sen. de Lima said in a press conference Saturday that the president had received fake and fabricated information linking her to illegal drugs. She even said she was willing to resign and to be shot in front of the president if true evidence of her involvement in the drug trade could be found.

Read: De Lima willing to be shot if drug links proven

Duterte said De Lima was lying and that he is willing to resign from the presidency if he is wrong.

"Are you not surprised that during her term as Secretary of Justice, there were special privileges granted to almost all inmates?" Dutere said. "It is the farthest from my mind to derogate your person, Sen. de Lima, but it was your greed and your immorality that did you in. If I don't talk about the relationship between de Lima and her driver, there is nothing to talk to about."

Admitting she had close ties with Ronnie Dayan, her former driver and bodyguard, de Lima appealed to authorities not to harm him, who is reportedly in hiding after receiving death threats.

Under her watch, the president said the illegal activities inside Bilibid prison went "unbridled, unhampered." He added there were guns inside the prison, parties held almost every night complete with a musical group, liquor, drugs and women.

"All of these could have only happened if there was a go signal from the head department, which is the secretary," Duterte said.

In a stern warning against supervisors and guards of the NBP, the president said he will file charges of negligence of duty if they do not tell the truth about the illegal activities inside the facility.

Despite their animosity, Duterte said De Lima, who chairs the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, should push through with her investigation of alleged extra-judicial killings in his administration's war against drugs.