TACLOBAN CITY –Apparently driven by fear for his life, Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa temporarily holds office at the town police station starting Thursday (August 25).
Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido, Albuera police chief, said the mayor occupies their investigation room as he sought for a protective custody from the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The beleaguered town mayor asked for protection after unidentified gunmen shot dead his lawyer, Rogelio Bato, Jr. on Tuesday (August 23) in this city.
The lawyer, tagged as high value target by the regional police is Espinosa’s legal counsel and lawyer of the mayor’s son Kerwin, the alleged top drug lord in the region.
The embattled mayor arrived at the police station around 9 a.m. on Thursday. A mattress was later delivered to his room where he will also stay overnight.
The mayor’s room is next to the police chief’s office.
“We can assure the mayor’s safety inside the police station,” Espenido said.
The local police provided chairs and a desk for the mayor to be able to work. On Monday (August 22), Espinosa met with Espenido for the first time after the latter’s assignment on July 18.
The meeting lasted for five hours. The mayor allegedly linked to illegal drugs trade, formally sought police protection on Wednesday (August 24) as he executed an affidavit disclosing names of government officials protecting drugs trade in Eastern Visayas region.
Espenido welcomed the decision of the town mayor to ask for protective custody.
“This will assure as that we can arrest him immediately once warrant of arrest against him is released by the court.”
The police earlier filed cases against Espinosa for illegal drugs and illegal possession of firearms.
Espinosa surrendered to PNP 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.
The mayor was admitted in a hospital in Cebu after he left Camp Crame on Aug. 6. He returned to his hometown on Aug. 16 and stayed at the town hall day and night for about a week before he asked for police protection.