MANILA, Philippines – Alleged drug lord Kerwin Espinosa cleared actor and Ormoc mayor Richard Gomez of drug allegations during the Senate hearing on Wednesday, November 23.
"Hindi kaya ako barilin niyan? MAD [Mamamayan Ayaw sa Droga] 'yan! Wala siyang alam sa drugs (Won't he shoot me? He's part of MAD [Mamamayan Ayaw sa Droga]! He has nothing to do with drugs)," Espinosa said about Gomez.
Espinosa reaffirmed that Gomez was not involved in the drug trade when Senator Manny Pacquiao asked him about it. Pacquiao asked if Gomez or his in-laws were involved in the drug trade.
"Hindi talaga iyan. Mga malinis na tao iyan talaga, your honor (That's really not true. They are clean people, your honor)," he said.
Earlier in November, Gomez's name was mentioned by Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido – the police chief of Albuera, Leyte – who claimed Gomez was involved with Espinosa's drug syndicate. (READ: Richard Gomez to sue Albuera cop who linked him to drug group)
Aside from Gomez, Leyte Governor Leopoldo Dominico Petilla, Baybay City Vice Mayor Michael Cari, and Leyte 3rd District Representative Ching Veloso were also named by Espenido, who said that the information came from the late Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.
Mayor Espinosa was killed in his jail cell during a police operation to serve a search warrant for him and another inmate. The mayor and his son Kerwin were among the first alleged drug personalities named by President Rodrigo Duterte.
On November 23, Gomez's lawyer Alex Avisado Jr posted a statement on Gomez's Facebook page. In it, he summarized what happened during the hearing, and said: "This is the truth. This is vindication. Mayor Richard Gomez is clean and will continue his all-out war against illegal drugs. We hope someday Ormoc City will be drug free. We thank you and pray for your continued support."
During the hearing, Espinosa also said that Espenido was working for the Codilla family. Avisado said in his statement that the Codillas are political rivals of the Gomezes. (READ: Kerwin Espinosa: Albuera top cop introduced me to Ronnie Dayan)
Last week, Gomez filed administrative charges against Espenido, Chief Inspector Leo Laraga, and PO3 Hydie Yutraga before the National Police Commission for linking his name to the illegal drug trade. – Rappler.com