MANILA - Cut off my head if I'm lying.
This was the reaction of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald ''Bato'' dela Rosa on Thursday after the camp of self-confessed drug trader Kerwin Espinosa denied that he backtracked on his statement that Albuera, Leyte police chief Jovie Espenido is accepting drug money.
An indignant Dela Rosa said he will gain nothing if he lied about Espinosa clearing Espenido of coddling the illicit drug trade in Eastern Visayas.
"Sinasabi ko lang ang totoo. Sinabi niya noong gabi na ganoon so ini-share ko sa inyo to be transparent," he told reporters at Camp Crame.
(I am just telling the truth. He said it that night so I just shared it to you to be transparent.)
"Anong makukuha ko kung magsisinungaling ako, gagawa-gawa ako ng istorya? What would I get from that?"
(What will I get from lying, making up stories?)
The top cop also said he is ready to be beheaded if he is lying.
"I stand by my word. I am willing to be, my head to be cut off if I am lying. If you want to portray me as a liar you can cut off my head anytime," he said, making slashing gestures on his neck.
Dela Rosa on Monday said Espinosa had taken back his statement linking Espenido and confessed that the cop is "not corrupt."
"Wala akong aksyon na ginawa sa kanya (Espenido) dahil nga undergoing investigation. Hindi ko muna siya ni-restrain. Lalo na ngayon na binawi niya iyung pagkasabi niyang ganoon. Talaga raw matino, ayaw magpa-corrupt," Dela Rosa said.
But the drug boss, in his handwritten letter using the Visayan language, said he is not changing any part of his affidavit on Espenido.
Boss K's Web: Espinosa names police protectors, drug sources
Espinosa made no mention of his supposed retraction of Espenido’s link to the illegal drug trade, but stressed that it was the police official who made it possible for him to reach then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
“Wala akong binabawi sa aking statement o affidavit lalo na kay Jovy Espinedo dahil siya siya talaga ang tumawag sa akin kung paano ako nagkaroon ng koneksyon kay Ma’am Leila de Lima,” Espinosa said.
Espinosa said Espenido took a 5 percent commission on the properties his family sold.
“Si Jovy Espinedo nanghihingi ng 5% sa mga nabenta namin na properties at mayroon kaming ebidensya at na-videohan si Jovy Espinedo sa loob ng kanyang opisina na nagbibilang sila ng pera para sa kanyang komisyon na pera at ang sasakyan nila ang kinuha namin at motor din niya ang pina-raffle niya para sa mga Albuera, Leyte,” Espinosa said.
Nothing to backtrack on Albuera police chief, says Kerwin’s camp
During a Senate hearing into the controversial death of his father, Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., the drug trader claimed that he gave a total of P8 million to De Lima as protection money through her driver-bodyguard, Ronnie Dayan.
He said he met Dayan through Espenido, whom he also claimed tried to have him killed in the 1990s because they were working for opposing political clans.
He said he worked for the Locsin family while Espenido was with the Codilla family.
Espinosa also accused Espenido of taking bank deposit slips during a raid in his house in Barangay Binolho, Albuera, Leyte last August 2016. He said the bank deposit slips would show his alleged drug payoffs to different individuals.
A dark green Toyota Fortuner with plate number ABA 6123, which was previously owned by a certain "Major Abordo", was also seized by Espenido, according to Espinosa.
Espenido has denied the accusations, adding that he will not step down. He said he would rather be relieved from his position as Albuera police chief and be assigned elsewhere.