Kin fear Kerwin might be killed, too

By: Joey Gabieta, Robert Dejon November 18,2016 - 09:44 PM

NOW that the alleged biggest drug lord in Eastern Visayas is back in the country, the family of Kerwin Espinosa fears that he will follow the fate of his father, slain Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. of Albuera town in Leyte.

Patrick Ceniza, spokesman of the late mayor, said Kevin Roland Espinosa feared for the safety of his brother Kerwin despite the assurance of Director General Ronald dela Rosa, Philippine National Police chief, that no harm would fall on the suspected drug lord.

Ceniza said Dela Rosa had also given the same assurance to Mayor Espinosa when the latter surrendered to the PNP chief and later executed an affidavit identifying 226 government and police officials and private individuals who were allegedly involved in the illegal drugs operations of Kerwin.

But the mayor ended up dead inside his cell at the sub-provincial jail in Baybay City, Leyte, on Nov. 5 over what the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Eastern Visayas (CIDG-8) called a shootout.

The CIDG team claimed that the elder Espinosa and another inmate, Raul Yap, fired at them first when they searched the mayor’s cell for drug stash past 4 a.m.

Senators, who were conducting an inquiry on what happened, said the death of Yap and Espnosa was premeditated.

“Kevin cannot ascertain if the police can keep such promise (that his brother will be safe) after what happened to his father who died in the hands of the CIDG,” said Ceniza.

“Kerwin may be safe today but what about tomorrow?” Ceniza quoted Kevin as saying.

Only Marielle Espinosa went to Manila on Friday to check on her younger brother Kerwin who arrived from Abu Dhabi, where he was arrested on Oct. 17.

Marielle was accompanied by their lawyer, Lielani Villarino.

The rest of the family remained in Albuera to attend to the wake of the mayor at the family home in Sitio Tinago, Barangay Benolho. Four of the mayor’s sisters who live and work in the United States are expected to come home on Nov. 22.

Kerwin should be allowed to visit the wake of his father, said Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido, Albuera police chief.

“He should be allowed to come here in Albuera and visit the wake of his father for humanitarian reason,” he said.

Espenido said he expected Kerwin to corroborate the affidavit of his father, which had been made as basis in filing separate complaints against 47 government and police officials and private individuals.

“He will definitely support and corroborate with what his father issued earlier. I just hope that he will just tell the truth and will have the conscience not to include names that they did not deal with,” said Espenido.

Among those implicated by Mayor Espinosa in his affidavit were Sen. Leila de Lima and a string of police and Leyte officials including Gov. Leopoldo Dominico Petilla, Vice Gov. Carlo Loreto, Rep. Vicente Veloso and Ormoc City Mayor Richard Gomez.

All denied the allegations that they received money from the Espinosa drug group.

Espenido said that with Kerwin’s testimony, those who supported their illegal drug trade will be prosecuted.

“That is our purpose — to put them behind bars. I actually pity Kerwin. He just (completed) second year (in) high school. I’m sure there are people who were behind the operations of this illegal drug trade,” he said.

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TAGS: Baybay City, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, drug lord, drugs, Eastern Visayas, Kerwin Espinosa, Leyte, shabu

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