AFTER months of hiding, suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa was finally arrested Monday in Abu Dhabi.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa announced Espinosa’s arrest after the flag raising ceremony in Camp Crame, the national headquarters of the police.
“With the help of Abu Dhabi police, just this morning at two, our team arrested Kerwin Espinosa,” Dela Rosa said.
He said information from Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Abu Dhabi led to Espinosa’s arrest.
“Mayroong nag-tip sa atin. Mayroong tumawag na mga OFW doon sa Abu Dhabi at nagsasabi na nandyan malapit sa building nila nakatira si Kerwin kaya nag-dispatch agad ako ng three-man team (We got a tip, some OFWs called us saying Kerwin was staying near their building so I immediately dispatched a three-man team),” Dela Rosa said.
Kerwin is the son of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa, whom police recently arrested for violation of Section 11, Article 2 of Republic Act 9165 and Section 28 of RA 1059.
Dela Rosa said the PNP sent an anti-illegal drugs team headed by Senior Supt. Albert Ferro, chief of the Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG), to work with the Abu Dhabi police.
The team coordinated with the Abu Dhabi police and the Philippines’ police attaché there. The PNP team monitored the operation against Espinosa.
“Ang humuli talaga Abu Dhabi police (It was the Abu Dhabi police who arrested (Kerwin),” Dela Rosa said. He also cited the participation of the International Police Organization (Interpol) in the operation leading to the fugitive’s arrest.
He explained that the Abu Dhabi Police could not officially act without notice from Interpol.
Ferro’s team is still in Abu Dhabi processing the documents for the extradition of Espinosa.
“Kung ma-process ang documents niya baka bukas pwede na siya ibiyahe (If his papers are processed he can be brought home tomorrow). If not, depende sa first available flight right after the suspect is cleared to travel to the Philippines,” the PNP chief said.
Dela Rosa believes Espinosa flew to Abu Dhabi from Malaysia. However, Espinosa
Was only granted a limited time to stay in that country, thus he was forced to seek the help of a travel agency to extend his stay in Abu Dhabi.
In August, President Rodrigo Duterte linked Kerwin and his father to drug trafficking. The president asked father and son to surrender or risk being killed but only the older Espinosa turned himself in to Dela Rosa. He and his family stayed in Camp Crame for a few days but he was later allowed to go home.
Dela Rosa earlier said Kerwin’s source of shabu was Peter Co, an inmate at the New Bilibid Prisons. ANTHONY VARGAS