Bato: Kerwin backtracks on drug links vs Albuera police chief
Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa on Monday said confessed drug lord Kerwin Espinosa backtracked on his accusations linking Albuera, Leyte police chief Inspector Jovie Espenido to illegal drugs.
In a press briefing in Camp Crame, Dela Rosa said Espinosa cleared Espenido of his accusations in a Senate inquiry last week that the latter received drug money from him.
“In fairness to him, dahan-dahan binabawi ni Kerwin ‘yung sinasabi niya. Sabi ni Kerwin the other night, kinausap ko s’ya, sabi n’ya ‘Sa totoo lang sir, matino siya, si Espenido,’” Dela Rosa said.
(Kerwin is slowly retracting his statements. When I talked to him the other night, he said, “Actually, Espenido is a decent man.”)
Dela Rosa said Espinosa told him that Espenido received money but used it for their church, adding that the Albuera top cop would reply with biblical verses whenever he would text him.
“Kinonfirm ko sa kanya hanggang sabi n’ya nadadawit lang daw ‘yun, pero malinis daw si Espenido. Kapag tinetext daw n’ya sagot niya Biblical verses. Ayaw daw kumagat sa drug money,” he said.
(I confirmed it with him and he said that Espenido was just entangled in it, but he’s clean. His replies through texts are Biblical verses. He doesn’t bite when it comes to drug money.)
Dela Rosa said he will not yet impose any disciplinary action against Espenido while investigation is still ongoing, especially now that Espinosa backtracked on his statements.
“Wala pa akong actions na ginawa sa kanya dahil undergoing investigation; hindi ko muna siya restrict. Lalo na ngayong binawi ni Kerwin yung pagkasabi niya. Talaga daw matino, ayaw magpa-corrupt na official, kaya the more naniniwala ako sa kanya,” he added.
(There are no actions yet because investigation is still ongoing. Now that Kerwin retracted his statement, saying that Espenido is decent and doesn’t want to be corrupt, the more I believe him.)
In last week’s Senate inquiry, Espinosa said it was Espenido who introduced him to Sen. Leila De Lima’s former driver Ronnie Dayan who asked him to contribute to then Justice Secretary’s campaign kitty. Espinosa also accused the Albuera police chief of trying to kill him once and implicating his late father in the narcotics trade due to an alleged grudge against him.
Espinosa is currently detained with the PNP’s Anti-Illegal Drugs Group after being arrested in Abu Dhabi. JE/rga