THE alleged supplier of illegal drugs to Kerwin Espinosa, the self-confessed Eastern Visayas drug trader, is no longer in the custody of the Philippine National Police-Anti-Illegal Drug Group (PNP-AIDG) in Camp Crame, a police official said on Friday.
“Lovely Impal is no longer here in Camp Crame and all we know is that she’s with her family now,” PNP-AIDG Director, Senior Supt. Alberto Ignatius Ferro, told reporters in a chance interview in Camp Crame in Quezon City (Metro Manila).
Ferro did not say where Impal is but added the PNP unit that facilitated her surrender is the one securing her.
As this developed, Espinosa denied on Friday the allegation that he is planning the liquidation of former Albuera, Leyte chief of police Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido, who has been reassigned as the chief of police of Ozamis City.
Espenido in a radio interview last week had claimed that Espinosa has access to a mobile phone. He said in a statement sent by his counsel, lawyer Lanie Villarino to Camp Crame, “Chief Insp. Espenido alleged that I have been in contact with my men in Albuera because I am planning a hit on him. Again, this is not true,” adding that he is guarded by police 24/7.
Espinosa also said was not allowed to use a cellphone and the only time he has an access one was when his lawyers were around and after being cleared by PNP-AIDG officials to make some phone calls.
Espinosa also said that the only people he had communicated with were his siblings and close relatives in Albuera during the time that his father, the late Mayor Rolando Espinosa was about to be laid to rest.
Espinosa was transferred by the PNP-AIDG to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) late on Wednesday night.
No longer in Camp Crame
Ferro said that even if Espinosa named Impal as his supplier of illegal drugs, the PNP cannot continue to detain her.
“Unfortunately, there’s no warrant of arrest against her and there’s no case filed against her… so we don’t have any legal authority or legal basis to detain her and she’s the one who voluntarily surrendered to the PNP Chief,” Ferro said. “We are respecting her decision to surrender.”
The PNP-AIDG director added they are verifying details of the statement they were able to get from Impal.
Impal is a native of Cagayan de Oro City, but also owns some properties in Iligan City and Makati City. According to Espinosa, she is facing drug charges before the Regional Trial Court in Cebu.
Case of cops involved in Espinosa killing
The PNP-Internal Affairs Service (IAS) started on Friday its preliminary conference on the administrative case against more than 20 police officers involved in the killing of Espinosa Sr.
Among the police officers that appeared in Camp Crame were the 13 personnel of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) led by their chief, Supt. Marvin Marcos who was accompanied by fellow CIDG officers, Supt. Santi Magtira and Chief Insp. Leo Laraga, the officer who had claimed that he shot the late mayor after a raid on the Baybay City sub-provincial jail in Leyte last November 5.
Personnel of the PNP Maritime Group who were included in the CIDG operation also attended the preliminary conference.
However, lawyer Shella Castillio, chief of the PNP-IAS Legal Affairs Service, who served as the hearing officer, said the preliminary conference was not finished because of the voluminous documents that have to be submitted by the prosecution and the accused. The conference will resume on January 10, after which both parties will be given 15 days within which to submit their respective position papers.