ALBUERA, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. yesterday was arrested by the police on non-bailable charges of illegal possession of drugs, which carries the penalty of life imprisonment and perpetual disqualification from public office, Police Regional Office 8 director Chief Supt. Elmer C. Beltejar said.
In a report to Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald “Bato” M. dela Rosa, the Eastern Visayas police director said that the warrant for violation of Sections 11 and 28 of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 was served against the 54-year-old mayor by a team of policemen led by Senior Supt. Franco Simborio, the Leyte Police Provincial Office director, inside the Albuera Municipal Police Station at 8:30 a.m. yesterday.
“The mayor underwent the routine booking process and was brought to the court of origin in Baybay City which ordered his commitment at the Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail,” said Beltejar.
After being subjected to physical and medical examination at the Western Leyte Provincial Hospital, the mayor was taken to the Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail where he was received by provincial guard Romulo Nday.
The cases filed against the Leyte official stemmed from the recovery of 11 kilograms of shabu worth P88 million and components of improvised explosive devices inside the mayor’s house a week after PRO8 agents shot and killed six heavily-armed supporters of the Espinosas inside the mayor’s compound last August 3. Recovered from the possession of the slain suspects were 13 assorted long firearms, four .45 pistols and rifle grenades.
The Espinosas denied ownership of the recovered drugs and weapons.
Section 11 of RA 9165 refers to ‘possession of dangerous drugs’ which carries the penalty of life imprisonment to death and a fine ranging from P500,000 to P10 million to any person who will be found in possession of 50 grams or more of methamphetamine hydrochloride or ‘shabu.’
Section 28 of RA 9165 refers to ‘Criminal Liability of Government Officials and Employees.’ The law says the maximum penalties of the unlawful acts provided for by the law, in addition to absolute perpetual disqualification from any public office, of any government official or employee who will be found guilty of violation of the anti-illegal drugs law.
The law also says that ‘any elective local or national official found to have benefited from the proceeds of the trafficking of dangerous drugs as prescribed in RA 9165, or have received any financial or material contributions or donations from natural or juridical persons found guilty of trafficking dangerous drugs as prescribed in the law, shall be removed from office and perpetually disqualified from holding any elective or appointive positions in the government, its divisions, subdivisions, and intermediaries, including government-owned or controlled corporations.
Espinosa surrendered to Gen. Dela Rosa shortly after they were named in the drug list of President Duterte. His son, Kerwin, is still at large.
After he was booted out of Camp Crame on orders of Gen. Dela Rosa following his failure to heed his promise that he would convince his son to surrender, Espinosa turned himself over to the Albuera Municipal Police Station headed by Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido due to alleged threats on his life.