MANILA - Albuera police chief Jovie Espenido on Wednesday denied introducing self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa to Ronnie Dayan, the former driver and alleged bagman of Senator Leila De Lima.
In separate interviews, Espenido insisted that he could not have acted as the link between the two men since he has never met the Manila-based Dayan.
"Ang Panginoon, alam na hindi ko kilala iyan (Dayan). Makapunta nga lang ako dito sa Maynila kung sa Senate. Wala naman akong capability na kausapin si Dayan," he said in a radio DZMM interview.
(The Lord knows that I do not know Dayan. I only go to Manila when I'm summoned by the Senate. I have no capability of talking to Dayan.)
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At a Senate inquiry Wednesday, Espinosa claimed that Albuera's top cop contacted him in August 2015 saying that an aide of De Lima wanted to talk with him about contributing to the campaign kitty of De Lima, then secretary of justice, in exchange for protection.
The narcotics trafficker said he eventually gave a total of P8 million to De Lima through Dayan.
But Espinosa also claimed that Espenido once tried to have him killed in the 1990s because they were working for opposing political clans. He said he worked for the Locsin family while Espenido was with the Codilla family.
He added that Espenido ended up killing another man in a case of mistaken identity.
Espinosa also claimed that his slain father, Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., had no hand in the underground trade so his affidavit naming alleged drug coddlers is unreliable.
Espenido had assisted the mayor in executing the affidavit that tagged, among others, Ormoc Mayor Richard Gomez, whom the younger Espinosa cleared of alleged drug ties on Wednesday.
COP FIRES BACK
During Thursday's interview, Espenido admitted that he indeed got involved in a case of mistaken identity in 2004 but said the charges against him were dropped.
He also clarified that the it was a certain Reynaldo Camugao whom he was after, not Espinosa.
The police chief also denied working for the Codillas and noted that he actually filed a case against one of the clan's members.
He also slammed allegations that he coerced the slain mayor into filing an affidavit.
"Sinabi nila kahapon na peke 'yung pirma sa affidavit. Mayroon tayong picture na nagpirma siya sa harap mismo ng piskal."
(They said the the signature on the affidavit was forged. We have pictures of the mayor signing the affidavit in front of a fiscal.)
Espenido also insisted that Gomez is not yet cleared of alleged links to the drug trade since he is also named in a separate affidavit of the Espinosas' "accountant."
The alleged involvement of Espenido and other police officials in the drug trade caused their boss, national police chief Director General ''Bato'' Dela Rosa to break down during Wednesday's Senate hearing.
Espenido's alleged drug link takes police chief by surprise
Addressing his superior's apparent dismay, Espenido said he should be judged based on his track record instead of the testimony of a "drug lord and murderer."
"Iyung trabaho ko, ibinigay ko ang lahat. Tingnan niyo lang anong trabaho ko, hindi lang pagsasalita," he said.
"Iyung isang drug lord, isang mamamatay-tao, pagsabi lang sayo, maniniwala ka na agad without any confirmation kung sino ito, kung totoo ba ang sinabi?"
He also told Karen Davila on ANC's Headstart, he will not step down, but would rather be relieved from position as Albuera Police Chief and be assigned elsewhere.
"Gusto ko sanang madaliin, i-relieve na ako agad sa Albuera...I-relieve ako dun ako sa may tao lang. Wag naman sa ako lang mag-isa ang nakatira. Ilagay na lang ako doon, okay lang sa akin, tapos file-an ako ng kaso," he said.
"Personally and from the bottom of my heart, i-welcome ko 'yan sa buong puso ko. I-welcome ko 'yan. I hope na magawa kaagad."
He asserted his position was given by God and may only be taken away by God.
"Bakit ako mag-resign, ma'am? Panginoon ang nagbigay sa akin ng trabaho na 'to, pagkatapos kagustuhan ko naman ang gusto ko...Ang panginoon ang nagbigay nito, ang Panginoon din ang magkuha nitong posisyon ko na ito," he said.
"Ganun lang ka-simple, ma'am. Hindi naman tayo pulitko, hindi naman tayo elected, and I know my job. Nakikita naman yun sa pagtatrabaho ko, hindi sa nasasabi," he added.