MANILA - (UPDATED) Alleged drug lord Kerwin Espinosa arrived in Manila onboard Philippine Airlines flight 657 from Abu Dhabi, UAE early morning on Friday.
His plane landed at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) around 3:41 a.m.
Espinosa was arrested last month in Abu Dhabi after months in hiding.
He and his father, Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., were tagged by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte as big players behind the proliferation of illegal drugs in Eastern Visayas.
Espinosa was escorted by a team of PNP personnel led by Senior Supt. Albert Ferro. The PNP team is assisted by Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Constancio Vingno, Jr.
PNP Chief Ronald Dela Rosa led the team that fetched Espinosa at NAIA.
In an interview minutes prior to Espinosa’s arrival, Dela Rosa told journalists that Espinosa fears for his life. He assured Espinosa that he will not die when he returns to the Philippines.
Espinosa is afraid that he might suffer the same fate as his murdered father, Albuera, Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.
Dela Rosa said he talked to Espinosa on the phone. He told Espinosa: "Hindi ka mamamatay, andito ako. Ako bahala sa 'yo."
(You won't die. I'm here. I got your back.)
Dela Rosa said several unnamed parties want Espinosa dead.
The PNP said securing Espinosa will be its top priority, given the latter's fear for his life following the killing of his father.
Upon arrival, Espinosa was transferred to the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame.
Espinosa is expected back the testimony of his slain father, who supposedly named several politicians as protectors of the drug trade.
However, some remain skeptical about Espinosa's impending testimony.
In an interview, Senator Leila de Lima said she will not be surprised if Espinosa tags her in his illegal drug deals.
De Lima believes it is a part of the current administration's plan to destroy her.
In a short interview with Espinosa before his plane landed in Manila, he admitted to being involved in drugs, but denied he is a drug lord.
"Na-involved ako sa ganyan. Pero hindi ako ang drug lord ng Eastern Visayas," Espinosa said.
(I was involved with drugs before. But I am not a drug lord in Eastern Visayas.)
"Nagbebenta noon, pero nung umalis ako, huminto na ako niyan," he added.
(I sold drugs before, but I have stopped.)
Espinosa begged the president and Dela Rosa to ensure his safety.
"Hiling ko din sana sa ating mahal na pangulo at kay General Bato, tulungan din nila 'yung pamilya ko na ma-safety sila. Tulad din sa hinihiling ko sa kanila, para sa safety ng buhay ko."
(I hope the president and General Bato would halp ensure my family's safety, just as I asked for my own safety.)