WAS the late Police Chief Master Sergeant Mikie Espina able to amass wealth through his connections in the illegal drug trade?
This seems to be the case, after the Police Regional Office 7 found Espina had around P148 million in his bank account and had owned a luxurious house in Talisay City just before his death.
The bank account was found as part of the PRO 7’s lifestyle check against Espina following his death by unidentified assailants on Wednesday, March 6.
Police Colonel Remus Medina, chief of the PRO 7’s Intelligence Division, told Superbalita Cebu that Espina could not have amassed such wealth just by working as a police officer.
Aside from his salary as a police officer, Espina also owned a chicken dressing plant in Barangay Dumlog, Talisay City.
Medina believes Espina’s wealth may have been amassed through his connections in the illegal drug trade, particularly with self-confessed drug lord Franz Sabalones.
But Medina believes that aside from the money found in his bank account, Espina also owned a three-story mansion in Talisay City.
Medina also questioned why Espina was allowed to return to Cebu when he was already assigned in Masbate.
Police Brigadier General Debold Sinas, PRO 7 director, believes Espina’s transfer to Masbate was due to his close connections with Sabalones.
Lack of evidence
But Sinas said Espina was never formally charged because they lacked evidence to pinpoint his involvement in illegal drugs.
“Yes, he was relieved because of the Franz Sabalones link. He was investigated. If you are investigating and you don’t have compelling evidence, you can’t just file a case,” Sinas said.
More than 100 police officers from Central Visayas were relieved or reassigned in 2016 and 2017 due to their alleged involvement in illegal drugs.
They all underwent investigation before the Regional Internal Affairs Service (RIAS) 7, but no cases have been filed against them until now.
Investigators in Talisay City failed to determine if Espina’s death was related to illegal drugs.
But Sinas said members of the notorious Kuratong Baleleng group were behind Espina’s murder due to an unsettled score while he was still assigned in Talisay City.
Even Espina’s family claimed Kuratong members were out to get him.
Sinas ordered investigators of the Cebu Provincial Police Office to conduct a deeper investigation on Espina’s killing. (JKV)