ORMOC CITY- Five men who claimed to be under the employment of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa were arrested in a buy-bust operation on Thursday (July 28) which resulted to the confiscation of firearms and of suspected shabu valued at P1.9 million. Arrested were identified as Marcelino Adorco,40; Jose Antepuesto,36; Jeffrey Pesquera,39; Ernesto Dumalat,20 and Jessie Ocaris,34. Ocaris is a resident of Barangay Sherwood while the four other arrested men were residents of Brgy. Binulho where the 5:30 pm sting operation jointly conducted by the local police and the Regional Police Safety Battalion took place. Seized during the operation were 238 grams of suspected shabu worth P1.9 million, two caliber 45 pistols loaded with live ammunitions, cash and several drug paraphenalias, said Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido, Albuera police chief.

All the arrested men claimed to be workers of Espinosa, the police official said. They were arrested in a tennis court located near to the house of Espinosa, who just won as mayor of Albuera during the May 9 polls. Espinosa could not be contacted for his reactions. Leyte Samar Daily Express called his office but was informed by his staff that he was not available for an interview. An unconfirmed report had said that the neophyte mayor had gone on leave.

Espenido said a surveillance of the subjects few days ago triggered the buy- bust to Antepuesto that also led to the arrest of the four others. In a body search, the police yielded from Antepuesto two sachets of suspected shabu weighing 14.8 grams and marked money worth P300. Seized from Adorco was a Glock 21 caliber 45 pistol with 17 live ammunitions and large sachet believed to be shabu weighing 121 grams and P9,500. Found in Ocaris possession was a Glock 21 caliber 45 with 16 live ammunitions and several sachets of suspected shabu weighing 84 grams and cash worth P4,700. Both claimed to be security escorts of Mayor Espinosa reason why they were in possession of firearms.Found in Pesquera’s possession was a sachet of suspected shabu weighing 7 grams while a sachet of shabu weighing 3.7 grams were confiscated from Dumalat. Pesquera, Dumalat and Antepuesto were said to be working in a cockfight farm of Espinosa. All five suspects denied they were in the illegal drug trade. “Before we left the station, all of us prayed so no one will be hurt or killed. And I thank God for hearing my prayers, that none of the suspects prompted to open fire,” Espenido, who just assumed the post last month, said. Cases are being prepared against the suspects at the Baybay City Court.