Drug intel report links Leyte mayor’s son to Loot, Garbo
The father and son tandem of Albuera (Leyte) Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. and Rolan “Kerwin” Espinosa are key personalities mentioned in an intelligence report that links retired police generals Vicente Loot and Marcelino Garbo to the illegal drugs trade.
Mayor Espinosa surrendered on Tuesday morning (August 2) after President Rodrigo Duterte gave him and his son 24-hours to surrender or face the consequences of their alleged involvement in the illegal drugs trade.
In an intelligence report dated May 31, 2016, a month before Duterte’s assumption into office, the “Kerwin Espinosa Drug Syndicate Group” was identified as one of the priority targets in the war on illegal drugs as declared by the then incoming president. The files of the intelligence report were forwarded to Duterte after he assumed office last June 30.
Kerwin was recruited as a police asset during the time of Loot in Region 7 as head of the Regional Anti-Narcotics Unit (RANU). Kerwin became a key asset to Region 7’s RANU because he was able to provide the identities of personalities involved in the illegal drugs trade in the region. He was later allegedly used to recycle confiscated drugs back into the market.
The police officer who provided this journalist a copy of the intelligence report on the matrix of the illegal drugs operation in the country said Kerwin remained an asset of the Police Regional Office 7 (PRO7) when Loot was promoted as its director for personnel and Garbo was assigned as its chief of staff.
“Shared asset nina Garbo at Loot si Kerwin sa PRO7. Alam ng lahat ng nasa region yan,” the source said.
From PRO7’s chief of staff, Garbo was promoted as Deputy Regional Director for Operations (DRDO). As such, he assumed direct supervision of the RAID-Special Operations Task Force. Kerwin was among those retained as an asset in Garbo’s office—a “fixture” according the police source.
Garbo meets ‘Jaguar’
It was during Garbo’s time as DRDO for Region 7 that he was introduced to Jeffrey “Jaguar” Diaz, identified as a top drug personality. Diaz was killed in Barangay Almanza 1, Las Piñas City, last June 17 by a joint police team from Cebu and Las Piñas.
The link between Garbo and Diaz led to a change of assignment for Kerwin.
From Region 7, Kerwin was tasked to expand his operations to Region 8 or the entire Eastern Visayas Region.
“Nagsarili na si Espinosa at siya na ang biggest supplier and distributor sa buong Eastern Visayas Region,” the police source said, adding that his links with Loot, especially Garbo, were strengthened.
“Iba yung kay ‘Jaguar’ pero yung kay Kerwin, tuloy-tuloy lang ang pagbibigay ng pera sa mga heneral na may hawak sa kanya, lalong-lalo na doon sa original handler nya, si Gen. Loot, ” the police source added.
Camotes of illegal drugs
Camotes Island was identified as the pick-up point of the illegal drugs distributed by the Kerwin Espinosa Drug Syndicate. The pickup and distribution were done weekly with 42-50 kilos, or about 200 kilos per month, with an estimated value of P300-million per month.
This made it easy for Kerwin to finance his father’s electoral bid during the last elections and Espinosa’s eventual victory as mayor of Albuera, the source claimed.
In the May elections, the pre-election money spent by Kewrin for his father’s mayoralty bid was estimated at more than P60 million. On election week, Kerwin allegedly shelled out P40 million more to ensure his father’s victory in the town that only had 24,000 registered voters.
Governor among 32 protectors
Mayor Espinosa was among the thirty-two (32) local executives mentioned as alleged protectors and distributors of methamphetamine hydrochloride or shabu. The list includes names of barangay chairmen, councilors, vice mayor, mayors, congressmen and a governor.
Kerwin was also able to build and organize his own private army with at least 100 caliber .45 and 9 mm pistols and more than 50 long firearms.
On July 28, two bodyguards of Mayor Espinosa were arrested in a buy-bust operation at a tennis court near the house of the Espinosa’s in Sitio Tinago, Barangay Benolho, in Albuera.
The police did not enter the farm of the Espinosa’s where the private army armed with high powered firearms were supposedly stationed.
In March 5, 2015, Kerwin was arrested in Tacloban by operatives of the PNP-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) for illegal drugs operation. He was however released and was not charged.
In the intelligence report dated May 31, it was noted that among the visitors of Kerwin while under detention was Loot. At the time of Kerwin’s arrest, Garbo was the PNP’s Deputy Chief for Operations.
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