URBIZTONDO, Pangasinan—Until his arrest on Thursday night, Ronnie Dayan, the former driver and bodyguard of Sen. Leila de Lima, tried to live a normal life in the farming village of Galarin here.
Dayan was first arrested on Nov. 22 last year for snubbing a House inquiry into alleged drug trafficking in New Bilibid Prison, the national penitentiary in Muntinlupa City.
He was allowed to return here on Dec. 7 where he resumed his daily activities, including meeting with his relatives and friends. He would wake up early in the morning and inspect the rice field behind his house in the village.
This had been his daily routine shortly before he fled to a mountain village in La Union province in July last year when the House ordered his arrest.
On Thursday, Dayan was taken by the police after he was ordered arrested by the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court for his alleged role in drug trafficking inside the national penitentiary.
The order also covered De Lima and former Bureau of Corrections chief Rafael Ragos.
Chief Insp. Joshua Maximo, Urbiztondo police chief, said Dayan never left this town after he returned home.
“We are unfamiliar with his daily activities, but we were sure that he was just here,” Maximo said.
“We did not see him much. There were only a few times that we saw him pass by on his motorbike,” Barangay Galarin chief Rodolfo Licuanan said.
“I was even told that after working in the rice field, Ronnie would join other men in his neighborhood to play cards,” he said.
During the House committee hearing in December, Dayan admitted breeding fighting cocks and said he used to bet as much as P11,000 during derbies.
He was never ostracized by Galarin residents despite the scandals, according to Licuanan.
Dayan has four children—two boys and two girls. His sons live with him in Galarin.
A brother and a sister are also among his neighbors. Other family members have settled in Metro Manila and nearby towns.
Dayan was waiting for the policemen in his house on Thursday night to serve the arrest warrant on him, Maximo said.
“He was expecting us because he had seen on TV that a judge had ordered his arrest,” Maximo said.
At 5:30 a.m. on Friday, Dayan, accompanied by his lawyer and relatives, was taken to Muntinlupa, where he was presented to Judge Juanita Guerrero, who issued the arrest warrant.
“I’m no longer afraid. But please pray for my safety. I leave everything to God,” Dayan said in a statement.