Prosecutor: I saw Mayor Espinosa sign affidavits on drug network
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte — Provincial Prosecutor Arlene Cordovez of Leyte said she was surprised by the claim of confessed drug trader Kerwin Espinosa that the signature of his slain father, Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., on his affidavit could have been faked.
She said on Thursday she did not know why Kerwin would say such a thing when she witnessed the elder Espinosa execute and sign his affidavit in her office on Aug. 24.
The affidavit, which detailed the illegal drug operations of his son, Kerwin, and implicated 226 government and police officials and private persons, was signed in her presence together with some police officials and members of the Espinosa family.
“The late mayor affixed his signature on the affidavit. He signed it in my presence page by page. After he (finished) signing the affidavit, I affixed my signature and administered the oath,” Cordovez said.
“While Kerwin could question the veracity or the truthfulness on the contents of the affidavit, we could not believe it when he said that it was forged specially when the late mayor himself signed the affidavit in the presence of so many persons,” she added.
“So we cannot say that someone else signed the affidavit,” Cordovez said.
Among those who witnessed the signing of the affidavit were Chief Supt. Elmer Beltejar, police director for Eastern Visayas; Senior Supt. Franco Simborio, Leyte provincial police director; Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido, Albuera police chief; and family members of the Espinosa family — her daughter Mariel, a niece and his wife.
During his appearance at the Senate inquiry on drug trafficking and the killing of his father by raiding policemen inside a Leyte jail on Wednesday, Kerwin claimed that the signatures that appeared on his father’s affidavit did not belong to his father.
He also said that his father had no idea about his illegal drug trade because Mayor Espinosa had no hand in it.
Cordovez said that while the mayor himself signed the affidavit in front of her, she could not say if the signature was the “usual or real signature” of the elder Espinosa.
While Kerwin believed that his father’s signature was different, Cordovez said it was possible that the mayor “changed” his signature “on purpose.”
But Cordovez said that when Espinosa was signing the affidavit in her office, “he was confident and calm” and did not appear to be under duress, stressed or coerced to do something.
She also said that Espinosa was informed by lawyers Renz Villegas and Nemensio Negado, both from the Public Attorney’s Office, of his rights and the consequences of signing the affidavit.
She added she would be willing to appear before the Senate inquiry that looked into the killing of Espinosa if invited by the committee.
“Well, I can face that because what I will testify to is that he affixed his signature in front of me,” Cordovez said. SFM/rga
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