Manila Regional Trial Court judge directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to dismiss the policemen who filed a case against self-confessed druglord Kerwin Espinosa and his late father, former Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa if they will fail to explain their failure to attend the scheduled hearing yesterday morning.
Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 26 Presiding Judge Silvino Pampilo Jr. gave the seven cops concerned 72 hours within which to explain why they should not be cited for contempt for not attending the pre-trial of the said case.
“I am ordering Chief PNP Bato to start the summary dismissal of these police officers for failure to attend today’s pre-trial hearing despite having properly notified them. They have 72 hours to explain why they should not be cited for contempt and why we should not file obstruction of justice charges,” the judge said.
Pampilo said that should they fail to explain, the said cops must be dismissed by PNP chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa, the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) and the National Police Commission (Napolcom), if warranted.
The said cops were identified as former Albuera police chief and now Cagayan de Oro City police head Chief Insp. Jovie Espenido, Chief Insp. Leo Diao Laraga, PO3 Neil Radin and Police Officers 1 Winefredo Guiron, Jessie Parto, Mark Alvin Balderian and Arnel Calcada.
It was learned that the said cops were supposed to testify for the prosecution against the Espinosas and the other suspects in the case namely, Marcelo Adorco and Jose Antepuesto, who were reportedly caught in possession of shabu inside the home of Kerwin in Albuera.
Espenido was the chief of police in Albuera when Mayor Espinosa was killed in a raid at the Leyte sub-provincial Jail in Baybay City, while Laraga admitted having fired at the late mayor.
The Espinosas are facing charges of violation of the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. The late mayor was removed as an accused owing to his death.
Meantime, the lawyers of Kerwin, namely Attys. Leilani Villarino and John Ungab were likewise ordered by the court to explain within 72 hours why they should not be cited for contempt for failure to attend the hearing of their client.
Villarino explained that she had just gone out of the hospital while Ungab said he failed to get a flight to Manila owing to the holding of the 31st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit next week.
The cases against the Espinosas that are pending before the sala of Pampilo are the following: drug trading and distribution in violation of Sections 5 and 11 of RA 9165 or Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs of 2002 and illegal possession of firearms.
Pampilo set the next hearing to December 8.