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The Espinosa list

Now that Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa is dead, the attention of a lot of people is focused on his controversial affidavit.

And why wouldn’t they? The document contains the names of the people who allegedly served as protectors of the illegal drug operation of his son, Kerwin. It includes Senator Leila de Lima, high ranking officials from the Philippine National Police (PNP) and its investigation arm – the CIDG, members of the Armed Forces, local officials, and media men.

Based on this affidavit, cases have been filed by Albuera police chief Jovie Espenido against 33 police officers, seven government officials and seven private individuals with the PNP, the Office of the Ombudsman and the prosecutors’ office.

What will happen to these cases with Mayor Espinosa gone and Kerwin’s cooperation with authorities still uncertain? The mayor was a vital witness who had first-hand knowledge of his son’s illegal drug trade. He could have been a major help in the government’s war on drugs.

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A copy of Espinosa’s affidavit was circulated in social media, revealing the names of Kerwin’s supposed protectors.
It also bared that Kerwin has an armed group to protect him, and supposedly kill the pushers who had a bad drug transaction with him.

Still, how are we sure that the so-called Espinosa affidavit is truly reliable, and not just a document simply made to bring the curtains down on certain people?

Ramon Espinosa was disappointed with Director-General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, PNP Chief, for his failure to fulfill the promise that nothing bad would happen to his younger brother, Rolando, if the latter surrendered.

What’s more intriguing is Ramon’s recollection of a conversation he had with his brother who allegedly admitted that he was not the one who made the affidavit.

The mayor supposedly told him that the contents of the affidavit did not come from him, that it was prepared by someone else, and he was merely asked to affix his signature on it. Ramon thinks some police officials may have had a hand in preparing the document.

If this were true, the hype for Espinosa’s affidavit would all be for nothing since it was a work of fiction from the very start. But if taken seriously, it could either be a very effective method of demolishing the character of anyone on the list or a strong evidence to prosecute the accused.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at http://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/ (Robert B. Roque, Jr.)

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