ALBUERA, Leyte – Vehicles, including brand new luxury cars allegedly owned by suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, have been surrendered to police in Albuera, Leyte.
According to Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido, Albuera police chief, the vehicles were voluntarily turned over by individuals who were supposedly keeping them for Espinosa.
There are already 15 vehicles parked near the police station, and Espenido said they expect more will arrive as other individuals have called their office to facilitate the turnover of the younger Espinosa’s vehicles in their possession.
Kerwin, the son of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa, would allegedly buy vehicles then place them under the care of his men who have garage in their homes.
Residents of Albuera said some things have changed since their town’s first family was named in President Rodrigo Duterte’s list of alleged “narco-politicos.”
Some vendors in the Albuera market said business has not been as vibrant in recent times. "Natatakot kami," said Shirley Abad, a vendor of dried fish in the market.
Families of individuals who admitted to authorities that they worked for Kerwin and his alleged drug business also confessed to fearing for their lives, despite being placed under police protection, as they were told that unidentified men with harmful intentions were supposedly roaming their area.
"Lagi akong palingon-lingon," said the wife of one witness, who refused to be named.
Police chief Espenido blamed the mayor for threats to the residents’ lives.
"Alam na kasi ng tao na sila ang tagapamatay. Threatened ang mga tao dahil sa pagbalik niya sa opisina,” he said.
However, some Albuera residents continue to stand by their mayor, as they believe that he is a good man.
"Masaya kami dahil bumalik siya rito. Ngayon binabantayan namin. Kahit magdamag, hindi namin siya pababayaan," said Mary Ann Romero.
Other residents declined to comment when approached by ABS-CBN News.