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'Payola cops' exposed

  • Written by Bernadette E. Tamayo
  • Published in Top Stories
  • Read: 452
Featured Kerwin Espinosa Kerwin Espinosa

CONFESSED drug dealer Kerwin Espinosa has testified that he gave payola or “SOP” to several police officials in Cebu and Leyte ranging from as low as P5,000 every week to as high as P300,000 a month to protect his drug trade operation in the Visayas region.

Espinosa made this revelation during yesterday’s resumption of the Senate investigation into the killing of his father, Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., last Nov. 5 in an alleged shootout with Criminal Investigation Detection Group (CIDG) operatives inside his cell at the Baybay, Leyte subprovincial jail when the policemen were about to serve him a search warrant for firearm and illegal drugs.

In the presence of Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, Espinosa said he started to give SOP (standard operating procedure) money to police officials in Leyte in 2011, two years after he was released from prison and shortly after he resumed his drug trafficking activity.

Espinosa made the admission as he was asked to read his judicial affidavit, especially on the part where he was asked whether he gave money to policemen so as not to arrest him.

“Oo. Nagbibigay ako ng SOP (money) weekly.”
During that time, he gets his supply of shabu from a certain Lovely Adam Impal and one Jeffrey Diaz alias Jaguar. He started selling shabu at 300 grams until it grew to one kilo which he managed to dispose of within 40 days. He earned at least P600,000 for every kilo of shabu.
Asked how was he able to transport the shabu from Manila to Visayas region, Espinosa said: “Sa spare tire nakatago ang droga sa shabu. Nakapasok doon sa pinupuno. Minsan ilagay sa tuwalya at luggage ng mga sasakyan.”
“Mula Manila, by land travel sila gamit ang private na sasakyan papuntang Matnog, Sorsogon papuntang Allen, Samar at sa Ormoc ang drop off para diretso pag-distribute,” he said.
Espinosa identified the police officers who allegedly received “payola” money from him, namely: a certain Gen. Dolina, who was supposedly then PNP Region 8 RD (regional director); Gen. Vicente Loot; Supt. Marvin Marcos, Region VIII CIDG head; Chief Insp. Leo Laraga, the one who shot the elder Espinosa dead; Insp. Juvie Espedido, Albuera Municipal Police chief; Sr. Insp. Rio Tan, of Leyte Police Station 1; Jose Estopin, of Ormoc PNP Intel Section; a certain alias Villamor; a certain alias Parak; Chief Insp. Wilfredo Abordo; Dennis Torrefiel; Santi Noel Matira; Sr. Insp. Chua; Sr. Insp. Jabinez, Sr.; Insp. Camacho; SPO3 Bituin; a certain Sir Magamay; a certain Sir Arafol; a certain Capt. Angay-angay; a certain alias Macanas; and a certain Sir Ludo.
Asked whether he gave checks to the police officials who received drug money from him, Espinosa said: “Hindi. Ang pulis kasi maingat ‘yan. Itong mga garapal na pulis ayaw makunan ng ebidensiya. Cash ang gusto nila.”
In his 27-page judicial affidavit, Espinosa said a certain Victor Espina served as the “bagman” of Dolina. Espinosa also said that he sometimes sourced his shabu supply from Abordo and Torrefiel and vice versa.
“Kapag naubos na ang supply ng shabu ng pulis at mayroon ako binibigyan ko sila. Kung ako naman ang naubusan, sila naman ang nagbibigay sa akin ng shabu kung mayroon sila. Nagbabayad sila pero hindi buo. Pero kung mayroon ibigay sa akin na shabu kailangan bayaran ko ng buo.”
Marcos, on the other hand, allegedly asked Espinosa for some financial support during the May national elections because his wife was then running for vice mayor in Pastrana.
“Kulang siya sa funding o pera. Sabi niya at kailangan daw ng P3 million kaso P2.5 million pa lang ang makakaya ko at nagkasundo naman kami.”