MANILA – The ongoing Senate hearing surrounding the death of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., is giving Sen. Manny Pacquiao a headache.
"Sumasakit ulo," Pacquiao admitted during the hearing Thursday, as he lamented that the slain mayor could have provided more information about those behind the illegal drug trade in the country.
"Ang isa na lang pag-asa natin yung anak niya," said Pacquiao, referring to Espinosa's son and alleged drug lord Kerwin Espinosa who is still in Abu Dhabi following his arrest last October.
The elder Espinosa was shot dead during an alleged shootout with operatives of the Criminal investigation and Detection Group Region 8 who were serving a search warrant against him while in jail.
The boxer-turned-lawmaker finds it hard to accept the testimonies given by the CIDG on what transpired during the November 5 operation.
Pacquiao likewise questioned the need to apply for a search warrant, when the target is already in jail.
"Itong si Espinosa wala na itong right to privacy kasi nakakulong na siya. Hindi mo na kailangang mag apply ng search warrant because he is already in jail," Pacquiao pointed out.
But Police Chief Inspector Leo Laraga of the CIDG explained that the search warrant was approved by a judge.
"Kaya nag decide kami na mag apply ng search warrant we already have experienced in the past pag nag coordinate sa isang facility nagne-negative din po. Parang tinu-turnover mo lang yung information sa kanila, nasa kanila na kung aaksiyunan nila o hindi yung impormasyon na na-receive galing sa atin," Laraga said.
Laraga further explained that it was not the first time that a search warrant was applied against someone in jail.
One of those he cited was Egay Alvarez, allegedly one of Kerwin's major sources of illegal drugs. But like Espinosa, Alvarez was killed too inside his prison cell in Leyte during an operation led by the CIDG-8 in August.
"Ang hirap paniwalaan yung testimony ninyo, yung mga paliwanag ninyo. Parang natatakot magsalita kapwa niyo pulis, jail guard pati warden parang may itinatago na may gustong sabihin [Your testimonies are unbelievable. It appears your colleagues are afraid or are hiding something]," Pacquiao said.
He urged those involved in the illegal drugs, especially men in uniform, to change their ways and stop tolerating those behind the trade.
"Lahat kami dito suportado namin campaign ninyo sa illegal drugs. Pero kung may pulis tayo at government official na involve sa illegal drugs paano natin matutulungan ang ating pangulo sa campaign against illegal drugs? [We in the Senate support your campaign against drugs. But if we have cops and government officials involved, how will we able to help the president in this campaign?]" he said.
"Tumataas yung blood pressure ko kaya nag statement na lang ako. Ayaw ko namang atakihan lahat ng PNP dahil di lahat may alam sa illegal drugs," he said.
To this, Sen. Gringo Honasan said in jest, "Nababahala ako, Mr. chairman, dahil nararamdaman ko na mas masakit pa ulo ni Sen. Manny Pacquiao ngayon kaysa nung lumaban siya kay Jessie Vargas."