Kerwin Espinosa has backtracked on his claim that the police chief of Albuera town in Leyte, Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido, was involved in the illegal drug trade.
Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa said Espinosa took back all his accusations against Espenido. The self-confessed drug lord said the police officer was “clean.”
Espenido was one of the police officers tagged by Espinosa when he appeared at the Senate last week.
Dela Rosa said no action was taken against Espenido.
“Wala akong aksyon na ginawa sa kanya (Espenido) dahil nga undergoing investigation. Hindi ko muna siya ni-restrain. Lalo na ngayon na binawi niya iyung pagkasabi niyang ganoon. Talaga raw matino, ayaw magpa-corrupt,” Dela Rosa told reporters at Camp Crame.
Espinosa in his testimony had claimed that the Albuera police chief contacted him in August 2015 to inform him that an aide of then Justice Secretary Leila de Lima wanted to talk to him about contributing to her campaign kitty in exchange for protection. Espinosa told the lawmakers that he gave P8 million to de Lima through her former driver, Ronnie Dayan.
Espinosa also claimed that Espenido once tried to have him killed in the 1990s because he was working for the Locsin family while the latter was with the Codillas. He said Espenido also took bank deposit slips on alleged drug payoffs during a raid in his house in August 2016.
Espenido had denied the accusations.
In a radio interview on Monday, the police officer admitted that Espinosa used to send him text messages but that he would send Bible verses in reply.
Once, when Espinosa texted him asking his forgiveness and that he will reform his ways, the police chief replied, “pag naabutan kita, talagang papatayin kita.”
Espinosa was arrested several times for selling illegal drugs.
Dela Rosa also said that he met with Chief Supt. Asher Dolina, the police official accused of receiving P3 million in protection money from Espinosa.
The PNP chief said Dolina showed up to give his side to accusations that he got drug money.
“Marami siyang inexplain (He had a lot of explanations). Anyway that will be between us,” Dela Rosa told reporters.
He said he advised Dolina, his upper classman in the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), to explain himself before the Senate, which is investigating the killing of Espinosa’s father, Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa, in his detention cell earlier this month.
Dolina is a member of PMA class 1983, while Dela Rosa is a member of PMA Class 1986.
Espinosa claimed to have given checks to Dolina’s alleged middleman, Victor Espina, brother-in-law of former PNP officer-in-charge Leonardo Espina, in several tranches in 2015.
Dolina, then the Eastern Visayas police regional director, allegedly asked for P500,000 monthly “SOP” or protection money from Espinosa, but Espinosa wanted it reduced to P300,000.
Dolina was among the 19 police officials ordered dismissed by the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the alleged anomalous procurement of rubber boats worth P4.54 million in 2009. The Court of Appeals in June cleared four of the accused, including Dolina.
But Dela Rosa said Dolina has yet to be reinstated because the court’s decision is not yet final.