by: Jazmin Bonifacio
Albuera Police Station is now where embattled Mayor Espinosa holds office for fear for his life following the assassination of his lawyer in Tacloban City. Photo by: Jazmin Bonifacio/Eastern Vista
TACLOBAN CITY – Eastern Visayas PNP Regional Director, Police Chief Superintendent Elmer Beltejar said drug-related corruption had penetrated the region.
While Beltejar refused to name the individuals tagged in Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.’s affidavit before the court, Police Chief Beltejar disclosed that the regional command is continuously investigating several high-profile personalities.
The list includes high-ranking police officials, members of the military, members of the judiciary, representatives in congress, local government officials, and even some members of the media in Eastern Visayas allegedly protecting the Espinosas’ drug trade or are receiving payoffs or payolas from the drug syndicate.
However, Beltejar adds that “such behavior will not be tolerated and we’ll take every possible measure to ensure that they face appropriate charges in court.”
Beltejar told Eastern Vista in an interview that their lawyers and police investigators are now preparing legal charges against those mentioned in Mayor Espinosa’s affidavits, using and collating all vital information including those of Espinosa’s bodyguards who voluntarily surrendered to the police .
A reliable source from the PNP 8 office, who requested anonymity, revealed that there are 72 personalities in Mayor Espinosa’s affidavits tagging them all as “protector” of his son Kerwin Espinosa who is yet to be captured by the police force.
Pending filing of cases in court against those 72 personalities the ‘source’ refuses to name names but shared the following list:
– 4 Police Generals
– 2 Police Senior Superintendents
– 5 Police Superintendents
– 8 Police Senior Inspectors
– 3 Police Chief Inspectors
– 1 PDEA Director and;
– 15 Police Non-Commissioned Officers (PNCOs)
– 1 Senator
– 1 Governor
– 1 Vice Governor
– 4 Mayors
– 2 Vice Mayors
– 2 Village Chief
– 6 Board Members
– 1 retired Associate Justice, 2 lawyers, 3 from the media, 3 from the BJMP, 1 Army official and 7 other civilians.
Police under threat?
Police Chief Supt. Elmer Beltejar ordered all his men to take necessary safety measures and to heighten security.
“We always presume na syempre galit sila sa amin, so we need to be vigilant and to be very security conscious,’ Beltejar said.
At the Albuera, Leyte police station, streets around the building and surrounding blocks were cordoned off by policemen in protective gear and armed with rifles after authorities received an anonymous threat of attack.
The incident occurred while Mayor Rolando Espinosa, Sr. has been placed under protective custody by the PNP and now lives and holds office at the police station.
Meanwhile, Mayor Rolando Espinosa, Sr. filed his counter-affidavit at the Leyte Prosecutors Office on September 5, Monday afternoon on the charges filed against him.
Leyte Provincial Prosecutor Arlene Hunamayor-Cordovez said that Espinosa, father of Kerwin, was charged for trading of illegal drugs, possession of firearms and ammunitions, before the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office based in Tacloban City.
During an August 10 raid conducted by the police at his residence in Barangay Binulho, Albuera, packs of shabu worth P88 Million and more than 30 high powered firearms and ammunitions were recovered by the police.
The embattled Albuera Mayor is also facing murder charges related to killing incidents that took place in his town during the May 9 elections.