Sunday , June 24, 2018

Court freezes bank accounts of Espinosas

THE Court of Appeals (CA) has ordered the freezing for six months of the bank accounts and properties of alleged drug lord Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa, his father the late mayor Rolando Espinosa, common-law wife Hazel Mago, sister Mariel Espinosa and driver Abdul Khan.

The freeze order dated Dec. 12, 2016 came after the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) filed an ex parte petition before the CA to freeze the Espinosas’ assets on grounds that those were products of their drug trafficking.

“In the case at bar, we are convinced that probable cause exists that the funds in the subject bank accounts and the properties are illegally acquired,” read the CA’s 19-page resolution.

The various banks where the Espinosas have accounts and different regions of Registers of Deeds where they have properties were furnished with copies of the freeze order.

The order was issued by Justice Priscilla Baltazar-Padilla, with the concurrence of Justices Remedios Salazar-Fernando and Victoria Isabel Paredes.

The appeals court ruled there was probable cause to issue the six-month freeze order based on evidence presented by the AMLC that the bank accounts and properties are related to their unlawful activity or money laundering offense.

The freeze order specifically covers the bank accounts of the late mayor at the Banco de Oro (BDO) and East West Bank.

The late mayor made 46 transactions totaling to P97 million, cash deposits of P13.9 million, and check deposits of P30.8 million.

Some of the 10 properties registered under the late mayor’s name in Albuera, Malabon, Meycauayan in Bulacan, Tarlac, Cavite, Laguna, Puerto Princesa City, Tacloban and Sarangani were also ordered froze.

The freeze also covers 11 motorcycles; a tricycle; a Grandia van and a Toyota 1965 model; and three licensed guns, a shotgun and two pistols.

The late mayor opened his BDO account in 2011 and stated “N/A,” or not applicable, in the space under the employer.

But a certification issued by the Department of Trade and Industry stated that in 2013, he is the registered owner of Rolando’s Resort and Restaurant, Zellan Fishing Boat, Zellan Hotel Reef and Spa and Zellan Security Force.

The freeze order also includes Kerwin Espinosa’s 13 BDO accounts, one of those is a joint account Mago; one account at PB Commercial Bank; and two at the UCPB.

From Nov. 15, 2013, to June 20, 2016, Kerwin’s millions of pesos transactions included inter-account transfers amounting to P327.15 million; a cash deposit of P108 million; P10.4 million in check transactions and cash encashment of P26 million.

Last Dec. 4, 2013, Espinosa stated in his BDO Customer Information Record that he owned “Fishpond/Zellan Hotel Reef and Spa,” which had been operating for seven years.

But a DTI certification showed that the same business owned by his father was registered only on July 3, 2013.

Likewise, records from the DTI show that Kerwin is the registered proprietor of RKE Sand and Gravel and Construction Supply and a Zellan Hotel. However, the AMLC found out that the Zellan Hotel is not operational.

Kerwin’s real properties that CA ordered froze include one in Misamis Oriental and his condominium unit on the 19th floor of the Makati Executive Tower III; and four properties in Albuera.

On the other hand, Kerwin’s common-law wife, Mago, is the registered owner of Zellan Hair and Beauty Salon in Ormoc City, and Hazel’s Boutique and Hazel Salon and Spa based in Albuera.

Mago is also the registered owner of a property in Bohol and another one in San Fernando, Pampanga.

Mago, with whom Kerwin has three children, has an account with the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), another one in East-West Bank and six in BDO, two of which are joint accounts with Kerwin.

She has inter-account transactions of P18 million; cash deposit of P13 million; made inter-account transfers of P18 million between Aug. 28, 2013 and Oct. 20, 2015.

The AMLC pointed out that Mago’s businesses, as per DTI registration, could hardly generate income that would support her millions of pesos bank transactions.

Kerwin’s younger sister, Mariel, opened an account with the Rural Bank of Dulag in Leyte and two at BDO, one of which is held jointly with Paz Notarte Casinillo.

Despite having no legitimate source of income, Mariel has deposited cash totaling to P14.2 million; and made over-the-counter withdrawals amounting to P26.6 million in just eight months from Sept. 5, 2014, to May 6, 2016. Her cash deposit is about P1 million.

Likewise, Abdul Khan, the driver of the late mayor, has a bank account at BDO which was in remitting proceeds of drug trafficking of Kerwin.

Khan was tagged by Marcelo Adorco, Kerwin’s bodyguard and alleged hitman, as the late mayor’s most trusted man.

Khan’s bank account cash deposits reached P 1.1 million, from only two transactions. He owns two properties registered in his name in Caloocan City.

With his salary as a driver, the AMLC said that Khan could not have afforded the million in bank transactions in Just 10 months, from Sept. 28, 2015 to July 25, 2016.