Camotes Island’s link to drug network surprises Cebu execs
CEBU CITY—Officials in Cebu province were surprised by an intelligence report identifying Camotes Island as a pick-up point in the “shabu” (methamphetamine hydrochloride) distribution network of an illegal drugs syndicate led by Kerwin Espinosa, the son of Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. of Albuera town in Leyte province.
Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale said the report must be validated. She also urged authorities to stop the illegal activity if the report turns out to be true.
Magpale said she did not know about Camotes Island’s supposed significance in the younger Espinosa’s operations until she read it in the Inquirer.
“I am sad that it is happening in our district,” she added.
Mayor Aly Arquillano of San Francisco town said he was also shocked to hear about the intelligence report.
San Francisco is one of the four towns that comprise Camotes Island. The three others are Poro, Tudela and Pilar.
Since he served as mayor of the town for several terms, Arquillano said it was only recently that he learned about the contents of the report.
Arquillano is serving his last term as mayor after he was reelected in May. He completed his first three terms as mayor from 1992 to 2001.
“How come we only learned about this now?” asked Arquillano, who was recognized by the international media for his effort to protect residents of an islet in his town when Supertyphoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) hit the Visayas in 2013.
But what bothered him and his family were rumors spreading in his town that he had gone into hiding because of his supposed involvement in illegal drugs.
Arquillano said there was nothing to be afraid of because he was not involved in illegal activities. “I don’t also know the basis of those rumors. How can we ask that we be cleared when we didn’t do anything wrong?” he said.
Senior Supt. Jose Macanas, Cebu provincial police director, said the supposed intelligence report about Camotes was still up for validation.
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