TACLOBAN CITY- Controversial Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa should better tender his resignation. This was the opinion of Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla as the town mayor is being accused to be involved in the illegal drug trade together with his son, Rolan who is most known as “Kerwin.” “If I were him, I will resign considering that he was implicated in the illegal drug trade. But it is really up to him whether he will step down or not. The people of Albuera voted him as their mayor,”Petilla said.

Espinosa, ran and won as mayor of Albuera as an independent candidate during the May 9 elections. The embattled town mayor garnered 12,242 votes defeating three other opponents, including then mayor Ramon de la Cerna, Jr. de la Cerna, who was serving on his first term, resigned from the post on May 19 citing his poor health condition as his reason. However, there were reports that his resignation was more on security reason. Artemio Caneja, provincial local operations officer, meantime, said that the vice mayor, Rosa Meneses, could assume the post as mayor if Espinosa could not report within three days.

“That is according to the rule of succession under our Local Government Code,”he said. It was learned that Espinosa has not reported to office since last month after he was implicated in the illegal drug trade. Based on police information, the town mayor and his son are considered as the region’s top drug supplier. President Rodrigo Duterte asked Espinosa to surrender which he did. He surrendered to Police Director General Ronaldo “Bato” de la Rosa on Tuesday (August 2).  Senior Supt. Franco Simborio, Leyte police director, said that Espinosa and his son are considered as high value targets. Simborio, in particular, said that the young Espinosa is operating his illegal drug trade not only in Leyte but in other parts of the region to include Cebu. “He belongs to our category as level three meaning he is at the highest level. His operation is not only here in Eastern Visayas but even outside the region like Cebu,” he said.

The police provincial director said that the Espinosa family operate the illegal drug trade as a “family enterprise.” “They are into the illegal drug trade running it as a family enterprise, business with the son (leading the illegal trade),” Simborio said. The family owns a hotel in Albuera, 138 kms away from Tacloban City. The young Espinosa had been arrested nine times, the last time was in 2015, but managed to get off the hook due to technicality like having his name misspelled or due to lack of witnesses. (JOEY A. GABIETA)