There appears to be an effort to ensure that Roland Espinosa, alias Kewin, who is under the protective custody of the Department of Justic (DoJ), being enrolled under the Witness Protection Program (WPP) and being considered as a state witness in cases lodged against Senator Leila de Lima, does not become a state witness and ensure that he does not testify against de Lima and other police personalities involved in the murder of Kerwin’s father, Rolando Espinosa, the late mayor of Albuera town.
Suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa is now facing arrest after a Baybay City regional trial court (RTC) issued a warrant of arrest against him, not for the illegal drug case, but for murder.
Judge Carlos Arguelles, of Baybay RTC Branch 14, issued thewarrant of arrest against Espinosa and two of his allged cohorts, identified as Jesus Tolin a.k.a Lokoy; and Brian Anthony Zaldivar a.k.a Tony Pet.
Arguelles issued the warrant on January 5, 2017.
Espinosa is currently under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) after being accepted in the government’s WPP for cooperating in the war against illegal drugs.
Espinosa has confessed to giving millions to former Justice Secretary and current Senator de Lima, through her former driver security and lover Ronnie Dayan.
The suspected drug lord also accused several ranking police officers of having received “protection money” from him, including Supt. Marvin Marcos, the former chief of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Region 8 (CIDG8) whose men were responsible in the killing of Espinosa’s father, former Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.
The elder Espinosa was detained at the Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail when elements of the CIDG8 raided the facility last November 5 that ended in the killing of the Albuera mayor and fellow inmate Raul Yap.
No bail has been recommended for the temporary liberty of Kerwin.
No further details were given in the warrant of arrest as to the murder case.
But former Albuera town police head Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido, now Ozamiz City chief of police, said this could have stemmed from the killing of Vicente Jabon, 68, chairman of Barangay Doña Maria also in Albuera town, sometime in May last year.
Jabon was gunned down by motorcycle-riding men as he was sitting on a roadside bench in their barangay.
Espenido said that a number of Espinosa’s men who voluntarily surrendered to the police pointed to Kerwin as the person who had ordered Tolin and Zaldivar to kill Jabon as the victim was a supporter of then Albuera Mayor Ramon dela Cerna Jr.
The late Mayor Espinosa defeated dela Cerna during the last May elections.
“Tolin and Zaldivar were hitmen of the Espinosas… It’s good that the warrant of arrest is already out so that justice will be served,” Espenido said.
From earlier reports and testimonies in the Senate, testified to by Kerwin, he spoke of the bad blood between Espenido, who was prior to his relief as town police chief in Albuera and transferred to another post, and himself.
He also said Espenido, whom he claimed was a supporter of the losing mayor, tried to have him killed.
Espenido also claimed that the elder Espinosa had given him a blue book on the payoffs made to several personalities, which inlcuded Richard Gomez, actor turned politician and current offficial in a Leyte town.
It was later proved that there was no such blue book list of payoffs,.
Moreover, it was also proved that Gomez was not involved at all in drugs or payoffs.
Kerwin, in his testimony, decalred that the so-called affidavit and list of payoffs his father was said to have been submitted, was forged, pointing out that the handwriting was not of his father’s.