THE Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday said it wants to hear first what suspected drug lord Kerwin Espinosa has to say before entertaining proposals to grant him legal immunity so that he could testify against persons involved in the illegal drug trade.
Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos, PNP spokesman, said in a news briefing that they have first to wait for recommendations from investigators or the PNP unit that is handling the case of Espinosa.
Then, according to the spokesman, PNP chief and Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa will look into the recommendations.
“[It is important to be able to get hold of the evidence against the suspect and weigh it],” Carlos said.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd on Monday said he was open to giving legal immunity to Espinosa, son of detained Albuera (Leyte) Mayor Rolando Espinosa, under the Department of Justice’s Witness Protection Program depending on the quality of his testimony.
The elder Espinosa earlier said his son has connections and even gave protection money to some government officials and police personnel.
The mayor himself has been named by the PNP as a drug lord.
Police also earlier filed complaints against Sen. Leila de Lima and a barangay kagawad (village councilman) before the Office of the Ombudsman for allegedly receiving drug money from Kerwin, who was arrested in Abu Dhabi also on Monday.
Carlos expressed hope that the younger Espinosa would finally disclose his connections in his illegal-drug operations.
The PNP spokesman said Kerwin’s return might be delayed because the Ministry of Interior of the United Arab Emirates is still looking at his possible violations of the law there.
Constancio Vingno Jr., Philippine ambassador to Abu Dhabi, said any violation of the law by the younger Espinosa would delay his deportation to the Philippines.
Carlos said the PNP Anti-Illegal Drugs Group and the ambassador are yet to talk with the suspected drug lord.