TACLOBAN CITY- The surrender of Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. and his son, Kerwin, is a big blow for those engaging in the illegal drug activity in the region.
Thus said Isidro Lapeña, director general of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) who was in the region last Friday (August 5).
The Espinosas, particularly Kerwin, are considered as Eastern Visayas’ number one drug lord. While the embattled mayor has surrendered to the authorities last August 2 after President Rodrigo Duterte asked him to give up, his son remain at-large.
A shoot-to-kill order was already issued against the young Espinosa by Police Director General Roland de la Rosa.
“With the neutralization of drug syndicate led by Kerwin Espinosa, more people will come out to report incidents of operation on illegal drug trade here in Region 8,” said Lapeña.
“It is good that we have now a President who is hands on on the fight against illegal drug. This is a golden opportunity for the Filipino people to suppress illegal drugs,” he added.
Lapeña said that their agency is still investigating and conducting surveillance operations against individuals in the region who are considered high value targets.
The PDEA official, however, declined to divulge any names who are in the illegal drug activity in the region.
Police Regional Director Chief Supt. Elmer Beltejar, in a press briefing on August 4, also confirmed that they are conducting surveillance several individuals in the region who could be involved in the illegal drug trade.
Lapeña did not provide any names of individuals in the region that they consider as high value targets that are under their list.
The new PDEA chief re-echoed Pres. Duterte’s announcement to end illegal drug trade problem in the country within three to six months by intensifying their campaign up to the community level.