MANILA – Self-confessed drug trafficker Kerwin Espinosa on Wednesday revealed the names of police officers who allegedly received protection money from him, including retired police general and now mayor of Daanbantayan, Cebu, Vicente Loot.
“Maraming beses akong nagbibigay hanggang nalipat si Gen. Loot sa training center sa Crame. Doon na naputol transaction namin,” said Espinosa during his testimony before the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs.
He narrated that it was in late 2011 when he first heard of Gen. Loot’s name through drug lord “Jaguar,” one of his shabu suppliers.
“Tumawag sa akin si Jaguar at sabi niya sa akin mainit daw sa akin si Gen. Loot,” he said. “Alam mo ba kung paano palamigin si Gen. Loot? At sinabi niya may tatawag sa akin para mapalamig ko si Gen. Loot.”
The man who called him up identified himself as C/Insp. Leo Laraga.
“Sinabi niya sa akin na inutusan daw siya ni Gen. Vicente Loot na kausapin ako. Sabi niya na hindi naman daw ako bata, alam ko na naman daw yung punto ng paguusapan namin,” Espinosa said.
His reply was, “Walang problema yan sir, basta makakaya ko lang.”
Espinosa claimed that he gave P120,000 monthly to Loot through Chief Inspector Leo Laraga. His bagman was the one who allegedly gave the money to Laraga.
“P120,000 yun, monthly. Ang para kay Gen. Loot nito ay P100,000 at yung P20,000 ay para kay Laraga,” he said.
Loot was one of the police officers named by President Rodrigo Duterte as those allegedly involved in illegal drug trade.
But Loot denied the allegations.
Espinosa admitted though that he did not meet the two in person, and that he and Laraga only communicated through cellphone.
Laraga was the team leader of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-Region 8 that was about to serve a search warrant against detained former Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. and another inmate Raul Yap on November 5, 2016 at the Baybay Sub Provincial Jail. Espinosa Sr. and Yap were both killed in the alleged shootout.
Meanwhile, Espinosa who was recently extradited from Abu Dhabi, also named Police Superintendent Santi Matira as another cop whom he gave a monthly “SOP” of P15,000.
Matira, he said, was introduced to him by a certain “Major Abordo” in 2012.
He testified that he gave Matira a monthly payola of P15,000 to P25,000 when his area of jurisdiction widened.
As for Abordo, Espinosa claimed to have paid him P15,000 weekly. This increased to P80,000 when he was assigned to the Regional Special Operations Group.
He also named Police Senior Inspector Chua and Inspector Rio Tan whom he paid P15,000 each weekly.