• Kerwin Espinosa sent surrender feelers
  • Six suspected Espinosa henchmen killed in shootout with police
  • Ampatuan, Maguindanao mayor denies drug raps

ANOTHER high-profile personality listed in police files as the over-lord of illegal drug operations in Central and Eastern Visayas is expected to surrender to the Philippine National Police within the next few days.

The suspected drug lord, Kerwin Espinosa, who was earlier reported to have escaped to Malaysia after undergoing plastic surgery, is the son of Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr., who had recently surrendered in Malacañang, a day after President Rodrigo R. Duterte issued a “shoot on sight” order for the father-and-son drug-dealing suspects.

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa had confirmed in a press interview that Kerwin has sent surrender feelers to the PNP; saying that “he feared for his life.” The elder Espinosa had reportedly provided the authorities a detailed report of his son’s drug operations in the two Visayan regions.

The PNP chief said the expected Kerwin Espinosa revelations will further enable the police to break the back of drug syndicates that have menaced the largest provinces and cities in Samar, Leyte, Cebu and Bohol. .

“Kerwin knows everything about the drug trafficking operations in the two regions. He is the direct downline dealer in charge of distribution of illegal drugs in Central and Eastern Visayas,” Dela Rosa said.

Last Wednesday, after the surrender of Mayor Espinosa, six men believed to be Espinosa henchmen, were killed in a shootout with police in Albuera. Regional police Chief Supt. Emer Cruz Beltejar said captured evidence, plus the statement of several witnesses showed that the slain gunmen had belonged to the alleged private army of the Espinosas.

Leyte provincial police director Senior Supt. Franco Simborio said the slain suspects were identified as members of the dreaded drug ring headed by Mayor Espinosa and his son Kerwin.

Police investigators identified three of the slain gunmen as Ricky Gravilio of Barangay Binlho; Teresita Larao Paderangga of Pagadian City; and Richard Mato, also of Pagadian City.

In a related development, a mayor in Mindanao surfaced yesterday to deny any link to drug-trafficking. Datu Rasul Sangki, Mayor of Ampatuan, Maguindanao told regional police director Chief Supt. Agripino Javier that allegations on his suspected involvement in illegal drug operations were false.