DOJ witness Kerwin Espinosa washes hands in Albuera drug raid

Lian Buan

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DOJ witness Kerwin Espinosa washes hands in Albuera drug raid
(UPDATED) A cop whom Kerwin said was in his pocket takes the witness stand, and says police found no evidence to link him to the raid

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Kerwin Espinosa promised to tell everything he knew about the vast drug network in the Visayas, and maybe beyond.

In exchange, he was placed under the Department of Justice (DOJ) Witness Protection Program (WPP) and under the custody of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) instead of being inside regular jails.

But in the drug and firearms charges pending before Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 26, on the raid on his father’s house in 2016 in Albuera, Leyte, Kerwin did not tell all.

Instead, Kerwin washed his hands of involvement in that police operation which yielded P88 million worth of shabu

The raid in August 10, 2016 on the house of Kerwin’s father, the late Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr, is the basis of the charges against Kerwin at the Manila RTC. (READ: Marcelo Adorco: A precarious spot the gov’t case vs Espinosa stands on)

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) has noted his pattern of uncooperation since February and requested the DOJ to drop Kerwin from the WPP. 

Former justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II never replied to the CIDG, keeping Kerwin as a government witness.

“It is my understanding that kerwin may be used as a witness in the cases against Senator Leila De Lima,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Friday.

PCI Daryl Chua

The prosecution brought to the witness stand on Friday, August 10, Police Chief Inspector (PCI) Daryl Chua. He applied for the search warrant on the late mayor’s house, and corroborated to the court the factual details of the raid.

On the questioning of Kerwin’s lawyer Jesus Obejero, Chua said the depositions and the affidavits of Mayor Espinosa’s employees who were arrested during the raid did not mention Kerwin at all.

“Am I correct to say Mr Witness that during the search of the kitchen of the house of Mayor Espinosa, you did not find anything that would implicate Kerwin Espinosa to the items that were found?” Obejero said.

Chua said: “Yes sir.”

In Kerwin’s pocket?

But here’s the catch – Kerwin has already said before that Chua is one of the cops whom he paid to protect him. Chua was even invited by the Senate when it investigated the killing of Mayor Espinosa inside his jail cell in Albuera.

City Prosecutor Christian Bachiller said they will soon present more evidence that will point to Kerwin. “The element of conspiracy in the case is still alive,” Bachiller said.

Kerwin has been charged for separate drug charges at the Makati RTC, stemming from the complaints filed against him and Peter Lim. DOJ also charged Lim on Friday, August 10. –

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Lian Buan

Lian Buan is a senior investigative reporter, and minder of Rappler's justice, human rights and crime cluster.