Kerwin says Albuera police chief tried to kill him

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 23 2016 03:28 PM | Updated as of Nov 23 2016 05:09 PM

Suspected big-time drug lord Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa Jr. is seen during the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs hearing held at the Senate in Pasay City, Metro Manila on 23 November 2016. The committee is investigating the killing of Kerwin’s father, Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa last November 5. Cesar Tomambo/PRIB/NPPA Images

MANILA – Suspected Eastern Visayas drug lord Kerwin Espinosa on Wednesday said Albuera, Leyte police chief Jovie Espenido is harboring deep anger towards him and once tried to have him killed.

Speaking at a Senate inquiry into the death of his father, Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., Kerwin said he and Espenido were both working for opposing political clans in Ormoc City way back in the late 1990s.

Kerwin said he worked for the Locsin family while Espenido was with the Codilla family.

“Ang trabaho ko sa mga Locsin, sa panahon na iyon ay ako ang pumupunta sa mga barangay captain na nasakupan ng 4th district. Hinihila ko sila na mag-suporta sa mga Locsin at tulungan sa election,” Kerwin said.

“At yun, dumating ang panahon na may nakukuha akong mga tao ng kabilang panig, sa mga Codilla. At yung mga Codilla naman, ay amo, bossing ni Sir Jovie Espenido."

Kerwin said Espenido tried to kill him but ended up killing a different guy.

“Ang nagyari nag-mistaken identity siya sa Ormoc City. May binatilyo siyang nakita doon, nabaril niya. Nagkaroon siya ng kaso at nagtago siya ng isang taon dahil sa pangyayaring iyon, kasi akala niya ang taong iyon ay ako,” he said.

“Ako ang rason kung bakit siya nagka-problema sa panahon na iyon at hanggang ngayon nagtatanim siya ng galit sa akin at pati sa pamilya ko. Kaya ginagawa niya ang mga hindi niya dapat gawin kasi isa siyang pulis.”

Espenido has linked the Espinosas to the illegal drug trade. Kerwin has admitted his drug links but said his father, the late Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., was not involved in narcotics.

Kerwin also belied that the affidavit that Espenido presented belonged to his father.

He also alleged that Espenido led a rubout in his house to further implicate him into the drug trade. He said there are witnesses who could attest that the bodies people found dead at the crime scene were killed elsewhere and their bodies were just dumped there.

Philippine National Police chief Ronald dela Rosa, meanwhile, also disclosed that he picked Espenido to lead the Albuera police upon recommendations by political forces opposed to the Espinosas.

“Ang instruction sa akin ni president, lagyan mo ng chief of police ang Albuera na lumalaban sa mayor. Kung pwede yung mismong babaril sa mayor kung ang mayor ay involved sa droga,” Dela Rosa said, recalling instructions from President Rodrigo Duterte.

“So merong nagbigay sa akin ng pangalan doon sa -- siguro mga political opponents din ni Espinosa – [at sinabi na] ‘sir ito ang police na di niya ma-kontrol.’ Nung nilagay ko si Espenido, doon na nag-start matakot si [Mayor] Espinosa.”