Alleged drug lord Espinosa nabbed in Abu Dhabi

Posted on October 18, 2016

ROLANDO “Kerwin” E. Espinosa, Jr., allegedly the biggest drug lord in Eastern Visayas, was arrested on Monday morning at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) disclosed also that day.

Mr. Espinosa was nabbed in Abu Dhabi through the combined efforts of the Philippine National Police-Anti-Illegal Drugs Group (AIDG) and the Abu Dhabi police under the international police organization, International Police (Interpol).

In a press conference on Monday, PNP Chief Director-General Ronald M. dela Rosa said Mr. Espinosa was arrested at around 2:00 a.m. (Philippine Standard Time) with the help of the AIDG led by Police Senior Superintendent Albert Ignatius D. Ferro.

According to the PNP’s spokesperson, Senior Superintendent Dionardo B. Carlos, Filipino workers in Abu Dhabi tipped the local police on Mr. Espinosa’s being in the city.

“He was arrested as a fugitive. He will be deported,” Mr. Carlos said.

In a separate interview, Mr. Carlos told BusinessWorld Mr. Espinosa is “new in the area, just arrived from Malaysia.”

“Kerwin Espinosa is under custody of the Abu Dhabi police and will be sent home immediately by Tuesday morning or afternoon if legal papers were processed and if there is an earliest flight available back to the Philippines,” the spokesman added.

“He will be accompanied by Police Senior Superintendent Alden B. Delbo (senior executive assistant to the PNP chief) and Police Senior Superintendent Albert Ignatius D. Ferro of the AIDG,” Mr. Carlos disclosed further.

Mr. Espinosa’s father, Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando R. Espinosa, Sr., had presented himself to Mr. dela Rosa last August, amid an intensified manhunt on his son. He was briefly under arrest but later dropped from police custody also that month, and had since been arrested and charged after a raid on their home yielded drugs and guns.

At the Department of Justice, Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre II welcomed Mr. Espinosa’s capture, saying the government may have gained a new witness in the investigation on Senator Leila M. de Lima, whom President Rodrigo R. Duterte accuses of drug links.

Kung papayag sya, gagawing witness. But I’m sure baka pumayag ’yan (If he will allow it, we will make him a witness, but I’m sure he will allow it)” Mr. Aguirre told reporters on Monday.

A complaint filed by Albuera Police Chief Inspector Jove Espenido tags Ms. de Lima as one of those who received drug money from the younger Espinosa, whom Ms. de Lima denies knowing.

Immunity from suit and government protection may also be offered to Mr. Espinosa “if he will pass the assessment of the Witness Protection Program,” Mr. Aguirre added, even as he qualified they will have to study this option in Mr. Espinosa’s behalf, considering his “very complicated case.” -- Reniel D. Gloriani, with Kristine Joy V. Patag and