The readiness of alleged top Eastern Visayas drug lord Kerwin Espinosa to spill the beans on the death of his father, Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., will not qualify him to the government’s witness protection program, senators said yesterday.
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero cast doubts that Espinosa could serve as a state witness.
“If he is the mastermind, and he is on the top of the organization, of the pyramid, then he is the most guilty. Under our laws, he cannot escape prosecution,” Pimentel, a lawyer, said.
“If he benefits from this, therefore he is the most guilty, he should be imprisoned, and not just the small fish,” Pimentel said.
He said Espinosa may escape prosecution if he will be able to name “bigger fish” than him.
Escudero agreed with Pimentel, explaining that one of the requirements to be a state witness is you must be the least guilty.
“He is the head of the syndicate, how can we consider him as a state witness?” he said.
Espinosa is expected to attend the Senate investigation on the death of his father who reportedly engaged policemen in a shootout at the Leyte sub-provincial jail in Baybay City next week.
Before the death of the older Espinosa, he executed an affidavit naming 200 government officials, including Sen. Leila M. de Lima, who allegedly received drug money from his son.
Pimentel and Escudero also agreed that it is up to De Lima whether or not she would inhibit from participating in the Senate hearing next week.
“If she wants to confront the person accussing her, that is her right. For me, it is better to have a confrontation so that we could get the natural and the believable version of the story,” Pimentel said.
He said he has not been consulted by De Lima on her decision to attend or not to attend the Wednesday’s hearing.
“As I have said, we cannot count that all testimonies are true, we will cross examine him and we will wait for a complaint to be filed against her (De Lima). We will act accordingly. Because it’s difficult to telegraph our punches against those who will be implicated by Espinosa,” he said. (Charissa M. Luci)