TACLOBAN CITY – Detained Albuera, Mayor Rolando Espinosa, Sr., who is facing charges for violation of firearms and illegal drugs appeared in Baybay City court on October 12 for his arraignment.
He pleaded not guilty to the illegal possession of firearms case while his lawyer, Atty. Lailanie Villarino filed a motion to quash or make the warrant of arrest invalid for the case on violating the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.
The arraignment started at 9:26 a.m. and lasted for only 30 minutes inside the heavily guarded Regional Trial Court Branch 14 in Baybay City under Judge Carlos Arguelles.
Accompanied by his family, the mayor’s camp filed a motion to transfer custody to the Albuera police station and motion to fix amount of bail for the case on violating the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act.
Prosecutors were given five days to study the motions. The next hearing was scheduled on October 19.
Espinosa has been detained at the Leyte sub-provincial jail in this city after his arrest on October 5.
The mayor, whose son, Kerwin, the region’s top drug lord, is alone in a detention cell.
Provincial jail warden Homobono Bardillon said isolating the mayor from other inmates is part of their security measures, considering that Espinosa is a high profile detainee.
“We can assure of the mayor’s safety in Baybay sub-provincial jail especially with the deployment of more policemen here,” Bardillon added.
It can be recalled that Espinosa surrendered to Police Chief Director General Ronald Dela Rosa on Aug. 2 few hours after President Rodrigo Duterte demanded for his surrender and Kerwin within 24 hours or face a “shoot on sight.”
The son remained at-large.
After four days, Dela Rosa kicked out Espinosa from his official residence after the son failed to meet the deadline for him to surrender.
He returned to his hometown on Aug. 16 and stayed at the municipal hall day and night for about a week before he asked for police protection.
Driven by fear for his life, the mayor had temporarily held office at the town police station from Aug. 25 until his arrest. His son has been hiding in Malaysia, according to police reports. (SARWELL Q.MENIANO/RONNIE C. ROA)