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Retired PNP OIC Espina denies link to Espinosas

Retired general and former officer-in-charge of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Leonardo Espina has denied any connection with the Espinosa drug group in Eastern Visayas after his name cropped up in the more than 200 people were said to be implicated by slain Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa.

Espina however pointed to his brother-in-law, Victor Espina, Jr., as the one who used his name to make money from the Espinosas through firearms dealings.

The former police official and his in-laws have the same surname.

Espina, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class 1981 and who retired last year, said he first learned that his name is being dragged into the illegal drugs trade of the Espinosas when the late mayor surrendered last September.

The official said he then contacted Deputy Director General Benjamin Magalong, deputy chief for Operations and a member of PMA Class 1982, to ask about it and eventually seek assistance in the conduct of investigation by coordinating with Eastern Visayas regional police chief Elmer Beltejar.

“I came to know later through the investigations of Generals Magalong and Beltejar that Victor Espina, Jr., my brother-in-law, was somehow pinpointed as a supplier of arms for the Espinosas and that he used my name,” said Espina.

Espina revealed that charges have already been filed against his brother-in-law based on the pieces of evidence obtained during the course of the investigation.

Despite this Espina is still thankful that his brother-in-laws involvement with the Espinosas was only through selling of firearms.

“So far, there are no reports of Victor Espina Jr.’s name in drug dealing. I hope and pray that there never was and never will be a positive report on this terrible crime,” said Espina. (AARON RECUENCO)