EASTERN Visayas drug kingpin Kerwin Espinosa flew back to the country more than a month after fleeing to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), vowing to reveal everything he knows now that his father, Albuera, Leyte mayor Rolaando Espinosa, is dead.
Kerwin arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on board Philippine Airlines Flight 657 from Abu Dhabi at 3:41 a.m. Friday, and was later presented to the media by Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ronald de la Rosa.
From NAIA, Espinosa was whisked by the PNP to its headquarters in Camp Crame in Quezon City, where he was booked and later detained at the PNP Custodial Center.
Espinosa had feared for his life after the killing of his father Rolando inside a Leyte jail by a raiding team from the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group last November 5.
But he said the PNP had guaranteed his safety.
Father and son had been linked by President Rodrigo Duterte himself to illegal drugs in August, which forced Rolando to turn himself in to the PNP chief. Rolando was later charged for illegal possession of drugs and firearms.
“With my situation now that my father is gone, I can assure [the President]that I will reveal all the names of all those involved in drugs,” Kerwin, speaking in Filipino, told reporters in Camp Crame.
De la Rosa said Kerwin would be treated both as a drug suspect and a witness.
“As far as the PNP is concerned, he is a drug lord,” de la Rosa said in the same news conference early Friday morning.
“During the election period, he supported some politicians and he even gave some money to them,” he added.
Kerwin claimed he had not used illegal drugs for the past 12 years and that he had fled the country in a bid to protect his family.
The alleged drug lord from Eastern Visayas also said no member of his family or anyone from the Philippines provided him support while he was in Abu Dhabi, where he sought refuge after escaping from Malaysia.
Kerwin said he went to Kuala Lumpur, first then flew to Phuket, Thailand. From Phuket, he went to Bangkok before flying to Hong Kong. From Hong Kong, he flew to Abu Dhabi, where he was arrested by authorities.
The PNP chief said Kerwin brought $40,000 and an ATM card when he left the Philippines more than two months ago.
Mum on de Lima
Kerwin declined to comment if he personally knew Sen. Leila de Lima, the former Justice secretary linked by President Duterte to illegal drugs. De Lima was also named as a protector of drug traders in a supposed sworn testimony signed by Rolando.
“No comment,” Kerwin said when asked about de Lima.
De Lima has denied knowing the Espinosas and receiving drug money from them, but said she was expecting Kerwin to point to her.
De Lima’s Senate colleague, Sen. Emmanuel Pacquiao, was the first to visit Kerwin in Camp Crame, at the latter’s request, said his lawyer Lani Villarin.
The Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, headed by Sen. Panfilo Lacson, has invited Kerwin to testify in a hearing next week.
“He might have an idea why his father was killed,” Lacson said, adding that Kerwin had expressed his willingness to testify before the Senate.
Kerwin on Friday asked for forgiveness from President Duterte.
“I hope he gives me a chance to change my ways,” he said.