MANILA, Philippines – Philippine police will ask the help of the Royal Malaysia Police and the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) in arresting alleged drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, son of Albuera Mayor Ronaldo Espinosa Sr.
Police arrested Mayor Espinosa on Wednesday, October 5, for violations of the country’s laws on illegal drugs and firearms. The mayor, who had earlier “surrendered” to national police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa, is currently committed to the Leyte subprovincial jail in Baybay City.
“Now that [the] warrant of arrest is already issued to him (Kerwin), we will coordinate with the Interpol for his possible arrest doon kung nasaan man siya ngayon, kung nasa Malaysia pa siya (where he is currently located, if he’s still in Malaysia),” Dela Rosa told reporters in a chance interview.
Espinosa was among the first local chief executives who surrendered to Dela Rosa after being linked to the illegal drug trade by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte. In early August, the President directed the mayor and his son to surrender within 24 hours or else, they would be shot on sight, should they fight back against cops.
The Albuera mayor showed up at Camp Crame, the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters, and even stayed inside Dela Rosa’s official residence for a while before he eventually returned to Leyte province. The younger Espinosa had supposedly sent surrender feelers but it was later found out that he was already overseas.
Dela Rosa said that based on records from the Royal Malaysian Police, Kerwin Espinosa was still in Malaysia. He said he would communicate with the PNP’s police attaché in that country to facilitate Kerwin’s arrest.
Duterte has spearheaded a “war on drugs” in the country since he officially assumed the presidency on June 30. Police nationwide have arrested more than 22,700 drug personalities and killed more than 1,300 drug suspects in over 23,000 police operations since July 1.
The crackdown on illegal drugs also supposedly involves politicians, police personnel, and members of the judiciary through “lists” released by Duterte himself. However, those lists have been found to contain several errors. Duterte even apologized to several Pangasinan officials for “negligence” in a “drug matrix” that linked them to illegal drugs operations within the New Bilibid Prison.