Alleged drug kingpin Rolando Kerwin Espinos Jr claimed Senator Leila de Lima had offered him protection in exchange for P8 million for election campaign, which she received through her driver-bodyguard, The Manila Times Online reported on Thursday.
Kerwin who was repatriated from United Arab Emitrates five day ago made the allegation against the former justice secretary during his testimony before the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous drugs on Wednesday.
De Lima was earlier accused by President Rodrigo Duterte of benefitting from drug trade at the New Bilibid prison which she steadfastly denied.
In his 27-page affidavit presented before the Senate committee, the alleged drug kingpin narrated how he became acquainted with de Lima, then the justice secretary of the Aquino administration, and ended up with being coughed up P8 million for the secretary's senatorial election campaign.
Kerwin claimed his drug trade operations in eastern Visayas went smoothly after his financial transactions with de Lima.
But de Lima, who attended the Senate panel's hearing , chose not to cross-examine Kerwin, claiming that it was pointless, useless and futile as the alleged drug kingpin had a very nice script.
I categorically, firmly, and absolutely deny having known Mr Kerwin Espinosa. I do not remember any instance or occasion of having met him. I categorically, firmly and absolutely deny having received any money, any cash from Mr Kerwin Espinosa, either directly or indirectly through anyone else, in any occasion at any time, whether that money is supposedly for either protection or fund-raising for campaign expenses, said de Lima.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)