MANILA (UPDATED) – Police have served the arrest warrants on self-confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa for two murder cases.
Baybay City Regional Trial Court Branch 14 Judge Carlos Arguelles on January 5 issued an arrest warrant against Espinosa after the capture of his two aides who were allegedly behind the killing of a certain Gregorio Velarde Sr. in 2015.
Insp. Ananias Monteroros led the serving of the arrest warrants on Espinosa.
Espinosa allegedly ordered Jesus Tolin and Brian Anthony Zaldivar to kill Velarde after he complained against the construction workers of Zellan Resort Hotel owned by the drug distributor and his father, slain Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.
Velarde was shot while waiting for a bus near the resort.
Tulin and Zaldivar were earlier arrested in Ormoc City.
The details for the the other murder case were unavailable. Named respondents in the second murder case, the arrest warrant of which was also issued by Judge Arguelles, are Espinosa, Max Miro, and Stephen Bobares.
Miro surrendered to authorities in September 2016, while former Albuera, Leyte police chief Jovie Espenido had been quoted as saying that Bobares had surrendered as well.
No bail was recommended for both cases.
The arrest warrants against Espinosa and his cohorts were issued following his admission to the Department of Justice's Witness Protection Program (WPP).
Espinosa's WPP coverage is in connection with his testimony that former justice secretary and now Senator Leila De Lima allegedly served as one of his protectors, and received P8-million in drug money from him.
Espinosa was charged before the DOJ, along with De Lima and her former driver-bodyguard and former lover Ronnie Dayan, in a separate drug-related complaint filed by the NBI.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II earlier said the DOJ will move for his discharge as state witness should the case reach the courts. – report from Raya Capulong, DZMM