Espino meets Duterte, denies role in Bilibid drug trade

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 31 2016 07:43 PM | Updated as of Aug 31 2016 09:46 PM

MANILA – In a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte Tuesday at Malacanang, alleged "narco-politico" Pangasinan Rep. Amado Espino categorically denied any involvement in the drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), and said he is "willing and ready" to face any accusations against him.

Espino was included in a "drugs matrix" released by Duterte last week, alleging Senator Leila de Lima and several others' involvement in illegal drug activities at the NBP under the previous administration.

READ: Duterte's 'drugs matrix' tags De Lima, others

In a statement, Espino said Duterte granted his request for an immediate and thorough investigation and validation of the drugs matrix.

He also denied any association with De Lima, drug personalities, or anyone inside the NBP, saying the previous administration was generally lukewarm towards Pangasinan—it was among the few provinces continually deprived of the services of a full-time police provincial director.

"Consequently, the governor did not enjoy the full support and cooperation of the provincial command," he said.

Espino reiterated that De Lima "allowed herself to be used and actively took part in a sinister plot to discredit my name and reputation during the elections in 2012-2013, with full media fanfare and sustained coverage."

She also pursued an investigation against him, in a case that was dropped in August last year, he said. 

In a radio interview on dzMM last week, Espino said that he could never have been in league with De Lima, as she led the filing of several cases against him when she was still justice secretary.

READ: Solon in 'drugs matrix': How can I band with my foe, de Lima?

According to Espino, he is an advocate against crime and illegal drugs, as he has undergone narcotics investigation courses in the military and special courses in Australia.