Kerwin backtracks on Albuera top cop's drug links: PNP

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 28 2016 11:18 AM | Updated as of Nov 28 2016 11:44 PM

Kerwin Espinosa, who according to police is a drug lord, gestures during a joint hearing session of the committee on public order and dangerous drugs and the committee on justice and human rights, at Senate headquarters in Pasay City on Wednesday. Romeo Ranoco, Reuters

MANILA - Self-confessed drug boss Kerwin Espinosa has backtracked on his earlier accusation linking Albuera police chief Jovie Espenido to the illegal drug trade, Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald "Bato" dela Rosa announced Monday.

Dela Rosa said he has not ordered any disciplinary action against Espenido because Espinosa has confessed that the cop is "not corrupt."

"Wala akong aksyon na ginawa sa kanya (Espenido) dahil nga undergoing investigation. Hindi ko muna siya ni-restrain. Lalo na ngayon na binawi niya iyung pagkasabi niyang ganoon. Talaga raw matino, ayaw magpa-corrupt," Dela Rosa told reporters at Camp Crame.

At a Senate inquiry Wednesday, Espinosa claimed that Albuera's top cop contacted him in August 2015 saying that an aide of Senator De Lima wanted to talk with him about contributing to the campaign kitty of the lawmaker, then secretary of justice, in exchange for protection.

The narcotics trafficker said he eventually gave a total of P8 million to De Lima through her alleged bagman, Ronnie Dayan.

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 accused Espenido of taking bank deposit slips during a raid in his houose in Barangay Binolho, Albuera, Leyte last August 2016. He said the bank deposit slips would show his alleged drug payoffs to different individuals.

A dark green Toyota Fortuner with plate number ABA 6123, which was previously owned by a certain "Major Abordo", was also seized by Espenido, according to Espinosa.

Espenido has denied the accusations, adding that he will not step down, but would rather be relieved from his position as Albuera police chief and be assigned elsewhere.

Aside from Dayan and De Lima, Espinosa named some 30 other individuals, including police officers and suppliers, who have allegedly been instrumental in the illegal drug trade in Eastern Visayas.

Dela Rosa earlier said the PNP has yet to draw clear plans on what to do with cops that have been implicated in the government's intensified campaign against illegal drugs.

"Ewan ko anong gagawin ko sa mga taong ito. Ang dami nila, baka maubusan ako ng pulis," he said.

(I don't know what I would do to them. There are so many of them, I might run out of men.)

The lawyer of the Espinosa family, meanwhile, claimed on Monday night that Kerwin did not backtrack on his affidavit about Espenido.

Atty. Lani Villarino said Kerwin did not implicate Espenido in the drug syndicate, even in his Senate testimony.

-- With a report from Henry Atuelan, DZMM