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Leyte court dismisses drug case vs. Kerwin Espinosa


A Leyte court has dismissed the drug case filed against alleged drug lord Rolan "Kerwin" Espinosa, according to a "24 Oras" report on Tuesday.

Baybay, Leyte Regional Trial Court Branch 14 cleared Espinosa and his fellow accused Brian Anthony Zaldivar, Alfred Cres Batistis, Jose Antipuesto, and Marcelo Adorco of the charges due to insufficient evidence.

The court also ordered that the P600,000 bail bond he posted last year for his temporary freedom be returned.

Espinosa still faces charges of money laundering before a Pasay court.  He also has two cases for illegal possession of dangerous drugs and illegal possession of firearms, which the Court of Appeals earlier ordered reopened.

Espinosa and his colleagues were initially indicted by the Department of Justice for illegal drug trade in Western Visayas in August 2021.

One of the charges was later dropped in December 2021, while he and Adorco were acquitted of a drug trade charge for insufficient evidence in June 2023.

On June 13, 2023, he was allowed to post bail for provisional liberty by the Baybay City RTC Branch 14.

In 2022, he recanted his initial drug allegations on former Senator Leila de Lima and stated that he was “coerced, pressured, intimidated and seriously threatened” by the police to implicate de Lima in a Senate joint committee hearings on the killing of his father Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr.

“Any and all of his statements given during the Senate hearings, or in the form of sworn written affidavits, against Senator Leila de Lima are not true. He has no dealings with Sen. de Lima and has not given her any money at any given time,” a counter affidavit stated.

“Any statement he made against the Senator is false and was the result of pressure, coercion, intimidation, and serious threats to his life and family members from the police who instructed him to implicate the Senator into the illegal drug trade,” it added. —Jiselle Anne Casucian/LDF, GMA Integrated News