TACLOBAN CITY-The revelations made by beleaguered Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., contained in an affidavit he signed, was described by police officials as “gold” and “substantive” which could result to possible arrests and charges filed against those personalities mentioned by the town official.
On Wednesday (August 24) afternoon, Espinosa, accompanied by Police Regional Director, Chief Supt. Elmer Beltejar, Leyte provincial director, S/Supt.Franco Simborio and Albuera police chief, Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido, went to the Leyte prosecutor’s office to submit his affidavit narrating his involvement in the illegal drug trade and those he dealt with.
“We can use the revelations. Its gold,” Espenido said, describing the value and importance of the affidavit signed by Espinosa and subscribed by Prosecutor Arlene Cordovez.
The affidavit submitted by Espinosa was so voluminous that it took more than three hours just to prepare and signed by the embattled mayor.
The entire process was held in the morning of that day at the provincial police headquarters in San Jose district, this city, before they proceeded to the provincial prosecutor’s office at around 4 pm.
Espinosa arrived at the provincial prosecutor’s office with his face covered “malong” guarded closely by police escorts.
Beltejar said that the affidavit executed by Espinosa was substantial that could possibly result to the filing of charges and arrest those named by the mayor.
The police regional director said that in his affidavit, Espinosa mentioned names ranging from police and politicians that served as his and son Kerwin protectors for them to continue their illegal drug activity.
He, however, declined to identify the names mentioned by Espinosa except to say that there were police officials as high as a general who were not mentioned before that the town mayor mentioned in his affidavit.
He also confirmed that there were “new names” that were mentioned by Espinosa in his affidavit.
“But for tactical and security reasons, please, di ko muna sasabihin. Pero may mga bago,”Beltejar said.
Asked if the move of Espinosa could qualify him to become a possible state witness, Beltejar said it’s up to the Department of Justice to decide.
Beltejar added that the affidavit executed by Espinosa could be used as basis in launching police operations and eventually, in filing charges against them.
“With this, we can strengthen in the filing of cases and launching of police operations against these connections of Kerwin,” the police official said.
“This will substantiate doon sa mga lead diagrams sa mga drug syndicates operating sa area natin at neighboring regions like Region 7. Mapi-pinpoint natin ang ibang galamay, ibat-ibang members’ ang drug syndicates,” Beltejar added, referring to the value of the Espinosa affidavit.
According to Beltejar, Espinosa was not coerced in signing the affidavit saying it was he who made the move in exchange of police protection. “Wala din itong kapalit,” he said.
Espinosa, he said, is under threat by “external” forces whom Beltejar declined to mention reason why he decided to ask to surrender and seek police protection.
“Takot na takot siya. Maraming threats na natatanggap niya at nararamdaman niya na delikado siya,” the police regional director said.
However, the request of protective police security sought by the embattled mayor goes with it certain condition which does not involve dropping of charges filed against him.
The conditions set by the police include that he would stay and hold office at the Albuera police station and that he if so decides to go out, he could not be given police escorts.
Otherwise, they will be violating the pronouncements of President Duterte not to give police escort to those so-called narco politicians, Beltejar said.
Espenido said that he is willing to provide protection to the embattled mayor.
“Kaibigan natin siya ngayon. Kasama na natin siya ngayon.So sayang kung hindi natin siya maproteksiyunan kasi yung kalaban niya yung mnga kasamahaan nila,” the Albuera police chief said.
Cordovez, for her part, confirmed that whatever Espinosa narrated in his affidavit would not affect the string of cases filed against him.
Espinosa was charged for illegal possession of illegal drugs, possession of firearms and explosives before the provincial prosecutor’s office.
“Our job was just to subscribe his affidavit and the cases filed against him will still continue,” Cordovez said. (JOEY A. GABIETA)