Gov’t mulls turning Leyte mayor into state witness on drug trade
The government is “considering” Albuera, Leyte Rolando Espinosa Sr. to be a state witness on the illegal drug trade in the Philippines.
“I suppose that’s under consideration,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a news briefing on Thursday.
Espinosa had earlier surrendered to police authorities after he and his son Kerwin were identified as drug pushers in Leyte.
The Espinosa patriarch was later able to go back to public office while his son remained at large.
The mayor earlier executed a seven-page affidavit naming “powerful” individuals allegedly involved in his son’s illegal drug operation.
He said included were police officials, congressmen and a senator.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II on Thursday said Espinosa has yet to apply to be included in the witness protection program of the government. Aguirre said the Department of Justice (DOJ) has yet to receive a “formal request” from the mayor.
Presidential Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said Espinosa could be accepted as a state witness given that he was the least guilty among the accused.
“Yes, kaya nga magiging state witness eh (that’s why he would be a state witness). Ibig sabihin, inamin mo pero you are the least guilty kaya pwede ka mag-testify (It means that you admitted [to the crime] but you are the least guilty so you could testify),” Panelo said in chance interview.
“The moment you confess your crime but you are the least guilty pwede ka tanggalin sa demanda kasi tutulong ka sa prosecution eh (you could be removed from the case because you will assist in the prosecution),” he added. RAM
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.