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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Nalzaro: List of Kerwin Espinosa’s ‘protectors’

I WAS able to obtain a copy of the affidavit of detained Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., detailing the illegal drug trade network of his son, suspected big-time drug lord Roland “Kerwin” Espinosa Jr. In his affidavit taken by an investigator of Albuera police, Mayor Espinosa named some politicians, police officers, barangay officials, lawyers, prosecutors and even some Leyte-based media men as alleged protectors of his son.

Included in the list of Kerwin’s alleged protectors are former Department of Justice Secretary and now Sen. Leila de Lima, retired police general and now Daanbantayan Mayor Vicente Loot Jr., relieved Cebu Provincial Police Office director Jose Macanas and a certain Atty. Bato, who was assassinated in Tacloban City a few months ago.

Bato was known to be Kerwin’s lawyer. I am only mentioning de Lima, Loot and Macanas because their names have already been exposed in the media. On several occasions, President Rodrigo Duterte named de Lima and Loot as drug protectors. Macanas was recently relieved from his post as CPPO director following his inclusion in the list.

He was tagged as Kerwin’s protector when he was assigned as Ormoc City police chief. He denied the allegations. As to the other names included in the list, I am not at liberty to disclose them as the affidavit I obtained was incomplete. The names were handwritten and attached to Espinosa’s sworn statement.

But if you look at the list, you will be shocked because there are so many politicians, especially city and town mayors in Leyte, who are on it. There is a Cebu-based lawyer, who is also an incumbent town official.

This personality is known to have been lawyering for drug personalities. I don’t know if the money this lawyer received was a retainer’s fee for his legal services or protection money.

In his affidavit, Mayor Espinosa, who is detained for illegal drugs and illegal possession of firearms charges, detailed his son’s illegal drug trade network. He revealed that Kerwin got his voluminous supply of shabu from Peter Co, a known drug lord detained in the New Bilibid Prison and from a certain Peter Lim. He did not give details on the network of this certain Peter Lim. I don’t know if this is another Peter Lim or the Cebu-based businessman, who has been suspected of being involved in the illegal business. But the businessman vehemently denied he is into the illegal drug business and so far no charges have been filed against him.

Based on Mayor Espinosa’s list of his son’s alleged protectors, we can say that the latter is really well protected. That is the reason his illegal drug trade business “flourished.” Kerwin’s alleged protectors are in various government agencies. Unsa-on pagdakop ug pag-papriso nimo ana niya. Maybe this is the reason he is still at large because of his connections.

***

I received a letter-complaint from a hauler of sand and gravel, who requested not to be named, about the alleged extortion activities by some unscrupulous personnel of the Provincial Environment Natural Resources Office (Penro). I thought that the shenanigans of some of the personnel were stopped following the relief of former Penro chief, Atty. Chad Estella. Here’s the complaint:

“I am writing this in order to inform you and at the same time request for your assistance regarding the continued extortion activities of Penro Capitol employees, particularly on our hauling trucks loaded with sand and other aggregates. Sir, this is already worse as they are collecting P5,000 from us for every truck apprehended. According to our drivers and friends, a certain Alvo, Asak, Hirmy, Ben Ting and Rey are the responsible individuals. Mag-motor ra ni sila, Sir, or magsakay ug terrano SUV with red plate.

“Palihug ko og dukol aning mga tawhana Sir. Aduna pa gyud mi nakuha nga information magaremit og kwarta regularly ngadto kaniya. Palihug, Sir, kay puwerte na namong alkanseha. Mamalhin nalang mi sa Bohol or sa Cagayan ani. Palihug ayaw lang ko hinganli, Sir, kay maapektohan akong negosyo kung mahimo.”

Can Gov. Junjun Davide III and acting Penro chief Baltazar Tribunalo look into this allegation. This is very serious. But I would suggest to the complainant to formalize his complaint by executing an affidavit so a formal investigation can be conducted. I know Junjun will not tolerate such shenanigans.

(bobby@sunstar.com.ph)
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