SENATE President Aquilino Pimentel 3rd sees nothing wrong with the admission of confessed drug dealer Rolando “Kerwin” Espinosa Jr. to the witness protection program (WPP), saying the latter seems to be not the “most guilty.”
“The concept involved in the WPP is not “least guilty” but “not the most guilty.” The implication is different,” Pimentel explained.
According to him, at first he thought that Espinosa was the most guilty and not qualified to be accepted into the WPP.
The Senate president said Espinosa testified during a Senate hearing that he gets his drug supply from someone with even bigger illegal drug operations.
“Hence, it can be said that Kerwin [Espinosa] is not the most guilty, hence he may be accepted into the program,” he added.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, in a separate statement, said the admission of Espinosa to the protection program is only in consideration of his physical security, not his guilt.
Lacson, who heads the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, noted that being admitted into the WPP is not a guarantee that a respondent is automatically off the hook.
In the end, he said, it is the judge who will decide during the trial if the respondent will qualify to be discharged as a state witness after proper motion has been filed and opposition heard.
It was Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre who confirmed the admission of Espinosa to the WPP before Christmas.
Espinosa, son of slain Albuera (Leyte) Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., claimed that Sen. Leila de Lima received a total of P8 million from him when she was still the secretary of the Department of Justice.