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Arrested Mayor Espinosa now detained at Leyte jail

Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa is now detained at the Leyte Sub-Provincial Jail in Baybay City after his arrest Wednesday morning.

The mayor was nabbed for alleged possession of 11.4 kilos of illegal drugs and illegal possession of firearms that were found in his home during a raid in August.

A progress report from Region 8 police showed that Espinosa was brought to the provincial jail around 10:50 a.m. after a physical/medical examination at Western Leyte Provincial Hospital.

Judge Carlos Arguelles of Baybay City Court did not recommend bail for Espinosa, the report stated.

Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido, Albuera police chief, said Espinosa did not resist when the warrant of arrest was served inside the police station at 8:30 a.m.

He said Espinosa has been staying at a room inside the Albuera police since he sought protective custody after naming the local officials and police officers allegedly protecting or in cahoots with his son Kerwin, whom he admitted is involved in drug trade.

“Tinurn-over na namin siya sa provincial jail pagkatapos ng medical examination,” he said.

The warrant of arrest was issued for violation of Section 11, Article 2 of Republic Act 9165 and Section 28 of RA 1059.

“Yung warrant para sa possession of illegal drugs, kay Mayor lang naka-address. Pagkatapos 'yung pangalawang warrant of arrest kay Mayor Espinosa at saka sa anak niya na si Roland alias Kerwin. Ang warrant of arrest naman na 'yun sa  illegal possession of firearms,” he said.

Espinosa, 54, a resident of Brgy. Benolho, Albuera, underwent booking process before he was brought to Judge Carlos Arguelles of Baybay City Court. It was Arguelles who issued the warrant of arrest.

Last August 1, President Rodrigo Duterte demanded the surrender of the mayor and his son, Kerwin, over their alleged involvement in drug trafficking.

They were ordered to surrender within 24 hours or face a "shoot on sight" order if they resist arrest.

The elder Espinosa surrendered to Philippine National Police chief Dir. Gen. Ronald dela Rosa the next day, and repeatedly pleaded for his son to do the same.

Kerwin remains at large. A source from the Bureau of Immigration said he flew to Malaysia in June.

Days after his father's surrender, the younger Espinosa reportedly sent surrender feels, but still did not surface. This forced the mayor and his family out of the "White House," the PNP chief's official residence, where they sought security after receiving threats.

Later that month, however, the police took custody of the elder Espinosa due to threats to his life, after he submitted a sworn affidavit naming other officials allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade in Eastern Visayas.

He named several police officers and members of Congress—including a senator—as among Kerwin's cohorts. —KG, GMA News