MANILA - Before his unexpected death, Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. signed a sworn statement and a supplemental affidavit on what he allegedly knew about his son Kerwin's supposed illegal drug activities in Eastern Visayas.
In the statement, Espinosa said he was merely fulfilling a promise made to Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald dela Rosa when he turned himself in to the authorities last August 2, following President Rodrigo Duterte's shoot-on-sight order for his and Kerwin's alleged involvement in illegal drugs.
Espinosa admitted his son was a big-time drug lord, and he knew of this because they were living close to each other in Albuera.
He added his son was open about his drug dealings.
According to Espinosa, his son got his drug supply from a certain alias "Lovely," who in turn got her supply from a certain Peter Co and Peter Lim.
He admitted having personally met with Lovely last November 2015, at the Zella Hotel Reef and Spa in Albuera, which his son owns.
Espinosa said he never met Peter Co and Peter Lim, but the family's driver and bodyguard told the mayor that Kerwin met Lim in Thailand.
From what he recalled, Lovely allegedly owed Co P10 million and could not settle the debt, which is why Kerwin took over the drug trade in the area.
Espinosa also said his son told him that the drugs are delivered by air from Hong Kong or Thailand, and enter through Manila's airport.
Espinosa also named 50 alleged drug protectors of his son in various sectors of the government.
He based it on a so-called "pink book" that he kept, and from what he can recall, former Justice secretary and now Senator Leila de Lima was named.
Espinosa said he met De Lima in Baguio, and a cash transaction transpired in Dampa Restaurant in Manila.
Others included in alleged list are Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla, Leyte Vice Governor Carlo Loreto, and incoming Albuera Vice Mayor Sixto dela Victoria.
The officials, however, strongly denied they benefited from the illegal drug trade.
The brother-in-law of former PNP officer-in-charge (OIC) Leonardo Espina was also on the list.
Espina's brother-in-law, Victor Espina Jr., allegedly had a firearms deal with Kerwin and claimed he was Espina's bagman.
In a statement, Victor Espina said he knew since September that Espinosa included him in the list. He also said he did not personally know both Mayor Espinosa and Kerwin.
He claimed innocence and said his brother-in-law used his name in the dealings.
According to the former PNP OIC Espina, he earlier asked the police to investigate the matter, and the probe results revealed that Victor indeed used his name and former position to make money out of the firearms deal.
The PNP has already filed a case against Victor.
Meanwhile, in an interview with Cebu Daily News, Espinosa's brother, Ramon, was quoted that the late mayor once told him that the affidavit was ready-made and he only had to affix his signature.
Espinosa's family, meanwhile, said it is not yet confirmed if the mayor wrote the affidavit.
Politicians tagged by Espinosa in his affidavit denied allegations of their involvement in the illegal drug trade.
Among those who gave their statements is incoming Albuera vice mayor Dela Victoria, who said he was surprised with the allegations.
"I was even surprised. Never, never na na-involve ako sa drugs whatever. I love my family. I work hard before entering politics at takot sa taas... I hate drugs," he said.
Petilla also denied his involvement, citing the issue of the affidavit's authenticity.
"Mahirap mag-speculate who is behind. Una, sa paggawa ng affidavit. Pangalawa, 'yung sa pagpapakalat niyan. It's not new, 'di ba? Hindi 'yan bago, bakit ngayon lang kumalat," he said.
Leyte Rep. Vicente "Ching" Veloso also denied his alleged involvement in the drug trade.
"Naisama na sana ako kung protektor ako...[but] until now I haven't received any notice that I was charged," he told media at the House of Representatives.
(They would have already charged me if I was really a protector, but until now I haven't received any notice that I was charged.)
"I will resign kung talagang may bahid kahit isang tingi ng katotohanan," he added. - with reports from Jeff Canoy and Kori Quintos, ABS-CBN News