Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa on Monday said that suspected Eastern Visayas drug lord Kerwin Espinosa has backtracked on his accusations against Albuera town police chief Inspector Jovie Espenido.
Dela Rosa said that Espinosa told him in a meeting on Saturday night that Espenido did not receive drug money from him.
“In fairness to him, dahan dahang binabawi ni Kerwin yung sinasabi niya. Sabi ni Kerwin the other night, kinausap ko, sabi niya ‘Sa totoo lang sir, matino na pulis 'yang si Espinido,'" Dela Rosa said in a press conference.
Dela Rosa added that Espinosa mentioned to him that Espenido received money, but not for his personal use.
"Nasabi ko lang na one time o two times na tumanggap siya ng pera para daw doon sa panggastos sa simbahan nila,’” Dela Rosa said in a press conference.
Espinosa did not mention this in his judicial affidavit. He also said during the Senate hearing last week that Espenido was not in his payola.
“So kinonfirm ko sa kanya (Espinosa) hanggang sabi niya nadadawit lang yun. Nadadawit yung pangalan pero malinis daw si Espenido,” he added.
Dela Rosa also said that Espinosa told him that whenever he would text Espenido, the Albuera police chief would send him Bible verses.
“'Pag tini-text daw niya (Espinosa) ang sagot sa kanya ay puro Biblical verses, ayaw daw kumagat sa drug money,” he said.
Espinosa is still under the custody of the PNP Anti-Illegal Drug Group in Camp Crame.
Dela Rosa said that on Sunday night, he talked with Espenido over the phone.
“Nag-usap kami kagabi, tinawagan ko siya after nag-usap kami ni Kerwin, tinawagan ko siya kasi gusto kong i-confirm talaga. Nag-usap kami,” he said.
Dela Rosa said he did not put Espenido under restrictive custody based on Espinosa's accusations during the Senate hearing.
“Wala akong ginawang aksyon sa kanya dahil nga undergoing investigation. Hindi ko muna siya ni-restrict lalo na ngayon na binawi ni Kerwin 'yung pagkasabi niya na ganun ayaw magpa-corrupt na opisyal kaya the more na naniniwala ako sa kanya,” he said.
Dela Rosa said his confidence in Espenido remains.
“Yes (confidence remains). Unless merong pagbabago. Binawi naman ni Kerwin yung sinabi niya. Napansin n’yo sa bandang huli na hindi daw tumatanggap,” he said, referring to Espinosa's testimony during the Senate hearing.
The Senate's public order committee is probing the death of the late Albuera mayor, who was killed by members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Region 8 inside his cell in the Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail in Baybay City early this month.