PALO, Leyte- The town police chief of Albuera, Leyte said he has not done anything to frighten Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. whose son, Kerwin was acknowledged as the region’s number one drug lord. This was Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido’s statement in response to the claim of the controversial mayor that he left the town because of death threats purportedly made by town police chief on July 22 or just five days after he assumed the post at the town police station. “Why threaten him? We are the police and we are the protectors. I should have killed him instead of scaring him because it’s not the attitude of a policeman to frighten someone,” Espenido said during a press conference held at the regional police headquarters, this town on Thursday (August 4). The town police chief recalled that two hours after he was assigned to Albuera, he got a call from Espinosa, expressing his plan to surrender. “I asked him why he would surrender. He said he would do it since he was told that he’s on the drugs watch list,” Espenido recalled. The mayor was then asked to bring his son instead, but the mayor said it was impossible for Kerwin to surrender since he’s in abroad, according to Espenido. After few days, the mayor’s daughter called up the town’s police chief, informing them that the mayor changed his mind about yielding to authorities since he has not committed any crime.

“He reportedly left Albuera July 22 until I saw him on TV after surrendering at Camp Crame,” the official recalled. The beleaguered mayor, who is serving on his first term, surrendered to Police Director General Ricardo “Bato” de la Rosa after President Rodrigo Duterte issued a 24-hour ultimatum for him and son Kerwin to surrender.  Espenido hinted that the mayor is scared because he’s done something illegal, citing a Bible passages from Proverbs 28:1 in criticizing the mayor – “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Asked whether the local police can assure the safety of the mayor upon his return, he said: “He can come back because people voted for him. But no one can assure of his safety 24 hours especially on Saturday because I am at church.” Police provincial director Sr. Supt. Franco Simborio said Espenido is the most qualified official to lead the Albuera police station. “Between the last quarter of 2015 until July 2016, we have assigned four town police chiefs to Albuera until we found the right man for the right job,” Simborio said, referring to Espenido.

Espenido recalled that before he came to Albuera, the local police are Kerwin’s friends. “He always showed up at the police station and brought meals and refreshments for the police.” The new Albuera is a known “drug buster cop.” He was born in 1968 in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur where his family currently stays. The 47-year old police official is married to Shiela Bandal from is from Barangay Tubod of Isabel town here in Leyte where his family currently lives. He is a licensed criminologist with background in electronics. Espenido entered the police service on September 16, 1996 assigned in Regional Mobile Group in Negros Oriental. (SARWELL Q.MENIANO)