THE police officer who led the 2016 raid on the Espinosa residence in Albuera, Leyte is confident that the case they filed against Kerwin Espinosa would prosper.
Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido, who served as Albuera town police chief at the time, said the case against Espinosa in connection with the 2016 raid is different from the drug charges that government prosecutors have dismissed.
The case, which was filed in Leyte, was transferred to Manila and is still pending before Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 20.
“Wala akong negative or positive na reaction dahil hindi ko kaso yan na na-dismiss. Ang kaso ko na hinawakan ko na kay Kerwin Espinosa nung nasa Albuera pa tayo, tuloy nag-trial, na-examine na ‘yung witness, si(Marcelo) Adorco ‘yung sa drugs at illegal possession of firearms,” he said in a telephone interview.
(I do not have a negative or positive reaction to the dismissal of the charges because that is not my case. The case that I handled against Kerwin Espinosa when I was still assigned in Albuera is still pending. Trial is ongoing.)
“’Yung sa fi-nile na kaso ng CIDG alam natin na yung CIDG is separate unit ng PNP sa local. Siguro obvious na iba talaga kwan sa tao, iba tingin sa tao, alam natin pag CIDG pagusapan matindi. Hindi ganun ka easy yun filing ng CIDG ma dismiss. May mga rason yan. Di sila makapagsabi kung ano talaga rason,” he added.
(The case filed by the CIDG is different. There is a reason why it was dismissed.)
Espenido said charges of possession of illegal drugs and firearms were filed against the Espinosa father and son following the raid.
He said among the “solid evidences” they have against Espinosa are the contraband recovered from their residence; the affidavit issued by Adorco, the younger Espinosa’s driver-bodyguard who claimed to have served as his drug runner; the confession made by his father; and the transcription during his appearance before the Senate in relation to its inquiry into illegal drugs.
Espenido was instrumental in the arrest of former Albuera mayor olando Espinosa, who was on President Rodrigo Duterte’s drugs watch list.
The older Espinosa surrendered to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and allegedly admitted his son Kerwin’s involvement in illegal drugs operations, particularly in Eastern Visayas. He was released due to lack of charges against him.
However, he was arrested in October 2016, two months after the raid on their residence in Barangay Tinago Dos Subvillage, Benoldo, Albuera, where authorities allegedly recovered at least P88 million worth of illegal drugs and assorted high- and low-powered firearms.
On the dawn of November 5, 2016, Espinosa was killed by CIDG operatives after he allegedly resisted the search for suspected firearms inside his detention cell.
His son Kerwin, meanwhile, was arrested while in hiding in Abu Dhabi after his father’s killing.
The DOJ dismissed on Monday, March 12, the drug charges filed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Major Crimes Investigation Unit (MICU) against Espinosa, Peter Lim, Peter Co, Marcelo Adorco, Max Miro, Lovely Impal and at least 15 others including their alleged accomplices due to lack of sufficient evidences.
However, Espenido expressed fear that the dismissal of the said case will affect the charges filed against detained Senator Leila de Lima who the younger Espinosa implicated in his illegal drugs transactions. (SunStar Philippines)