REGIONAL Trial Court Judge Generosa Labra convicted suspected drug lord Rolando “Kerwin” Espinosa of violating an election gun ban, just hours before his lawyer Jonnah John Ungab was ambushed on S. Osmeña Jr. Blvd., Cebu City.
Judge Labra found Espinosa guilty of violating Commission Elections (Comelec) Resolution 8714 and sentenced him to one year in prison.
Espinosa had a firearm license and was acquitted of the charge of illegal possession of a firearm, but he failed to secure an exemption from the Comelec gun ban.
Authorities arrested Espinosa in a buy-bust on Spolarium St., Barangay Duljo Fatima, Cebu City last March 4, 2010. Seized from him were a .45 pistol, a magazine for the gun, and 12 live ammunitions.
PO2 Albert Luardo, in his testimony, said he pretended to be a buyer when the police tried to pin down Espinosa and his companions. He bought about five grams of shabu from Espinosa’s companions for P30,000.
Police officers then frisked Espinosa and recovered from his possession three packs of shabu, the firearm and ammunitions.
Lawyer Josilyn Demesa, Comelec law department chief, testified that Espinosa had no authority from his office to carry a firearm outside of his residence on Election Day in 2010.
A witness for the defense, Raymund Castañares, testified he was attending to their car wash venture at 11:30 a.m. last March 4, 2010 when he saw Espinosa’s vehicle.
He told the court that while Espinosa’s vehicle was making a U-turn near the car wash in Duljo-Fatima, four people in civilian clothes disembarked from the vehicle and nabbed a certain Reynaldo Diaz, one of their clients.
Arrested along with Diaz and Espinosa that day were Noel Diaz, Reynaldo’s brother; Ronnie T. Pocson of Ormoc City; and Cipriano A. Diano of Albuera, Leyte. (GMD)