MANILA, Philippines — Albuera Police Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido on Saturday showed photos and videos supposedly proving that the signature on the affidavit of slain Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. was not forged.
Espenido showed to ABS-CBN News photos of Espinosa allegedly signing the affidavit he made where he linked several personalities to the narcotics trade. On November 5, Espinosa was killed during a police operation inside the Baybay City Jail in Leyte.
Espenido also showed a video of Espinosa giving his sworn statement before prosecutor Arlene Cordovez inside the Leyte Prosecutor’s Office in Tacloban City.
Espenido said the police also have photos of Espinosa affirming his affidavit before the regional director of the Regional Internal Affairs Service, Victor Ongkiko. The mayor’s lawyer was also present at the time, he said.
The Albuera Police chief revealed the photos and video more than a week after Mayor Espinosa's son, suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, claimed that the signature on the affidavit was not his father's.
Asked why his father would be tagged in the issue, the younger Espinosa said Espenido bore a grudge against him stemming from their previous work for rival political families in Leyte. Espenido is also involved in the drug trade, Kerwin said.
But Espenido said he was prepared to face a Senate inquiry when it resumes on Monday.
He told lawmakers not to treat Kerwin as a hero but as a drug lord.
"Kerwin Espinosa kung pakinggan mo lang dito sa Region 8 matindi talaga. Sa ngayon nakikita natin na wala na si Kerwin, parang siya na ang hero ngayon,” he said.
(If you just listen to what people are saying about Kerwin here in Region 8, it's really severe. But now he's kind of being seen as a hero.)
Espenido said Kerwin is the suspect in many unsolved murders in Albuera, which he said is backed by statements of former members of the Espinosa group which surrendered to police earlier this year.
He said the police have already filed four murder cases against the Espinosas since July but plan on filing 28 more against Kerwin in connection with killings dating back to 2011.
"Yung 28 lahat ay pinatay dahil hindi nagbayad. Drugs, drugs, drugs. May dalawa dyan o apat ba yun na nilagay sa barrel, yung nagbenta ng ice cream. Nilagay sa barrel saka pagkatapos hinaluan ng semento pagkatapos dinala sa dagat tinapon na doon. Yun sana ang tingnan ng mga tao at saka ng Senado natin kung sino si Kerwin, at saka ng chief PNP natin, para mabigyan natin ng justice yung mga naulila," he said.
(All of those who were killed did not pay him. It was all about drugs, drugs, drugs. There are two or four who were placed inside a barrel. An ice cream seller was placed inside a barrel which was filled with cement and then thrown into the sea. I hope that's what people and the Senate see about Kerwin so that the victims' families will get justice.)